The fifth UNWorld Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) opened in mid-May with political theater at its finest. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), took the stagewearing a blue UN peacekeeping helmet. “It is my pleasure to announce today that we are not taking over the Internet,” he declared. “The UN peacekeepers and their blue helmets are not coming to take over the world IXPs [Internet exchange points]. The UN peacekeepers are not coming to take over the Internet critical resources...”
President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team experienced a shuffle this week. On Wednesday, he appointed U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to become his new National Security Adviser, tapping National Security Council official Samantha Power to take over as Rice’s successor at the United Nations.
What brings together individuals and organizations such as Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student shot by the Taliban for her outspoken support of girls’ education, front-line polio workers, the global action campaign 10x10, and GE Africa? The answer: courage and a determination to work for a better world. The four will also come together in New York City to be honored at the 2013 Global Leadership Awards Dinner in New York City this November.
At a recent event hosted by the U.S. State Department titled “The Next Level of Diplomacy: Youth and Global Engagement,” the discussion revolved around the promise and peril of the world’s burgeoning youth population. In particular, the panel of Farah Pandith, the department’s special representative to Muslim communities, Zeenat Rahman, special adviser on global youth issues, and Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, focused on the urgent need to engage young people in global affairs.
There are fewer than 1,000 days to generate momentum toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). April 5 marked the 1,000th day before the end of 2015, the goal set for attaining the eight objectives established over a decade ago, which have focused on vastly improving global health, development, equality and prosperity. Yet as United Nations agencies, governments and NGOs focus on the MDGs, another goal has emerged.
The United Nations just made history with the first international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), creating a framework for regulating the $70 billion global conventional arms trade. For the last two weeks, the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty has been negotiating a pact to regulate what was previously an uncontrolled flow of weapons and ammunition, which arms control advocates firmly believe to be fueling wars and human rights atrocities on a global scale. Such groups currently estimate that armed violence claims one life every minute.
During International Women’s Day, the United Nations focuses on fulfilling promises regarding the maternal health, equality, empowerment, education, and safety of women worldwide. There is perhaps no one better suited to help the UN sharpen this focus than U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.
This week, John Kerry heads for his new Foggy Bottom office as the 68th U.S. Secretary of State. Kerry breezed through his nomination process, receiving near unanimous support from both the Senate and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Kerry had been a member for his entire 28-year Senate career, serving as chairman for the past four. He becomes the first nominee of President Obama’s second-term cabinet to be confirmed.
With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals fast approaching, the United Nations is already planning its post-2015 agenda. But rather than looking inward, it has partnered with various civil society organizations, including Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and CIVICUS, to produce The World We Want 2015, a website that encourages discussion, solicits opinion and crowdsources on a global level. The conversations will be moderated, synthesized and presented to a high-level panel that will formulate an agenda based on this global feedback.
When the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) convened in Dubai last month to review international telecommunications regulations (ITRs), it received a flood of accusations. This review was long overdue, since UN member states had not collectively assessed ITRs for nearly a quarter of a century, the last time being the World Administrative Telegraphy and Telephone Conference in 1988. Yet due to the Internet’s highly controversial nature, scholars and critics were quick to charge the UN with using the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a vehicle to control the Internet.