Monday, 13 August 2012

Beyonce's U.N. Earrings Are Distractingly Large (PHOTOS)

... To her credit, Beyonce wisely kept her outfit subdued and professional to offset the heavy-duty bling around her face. But we're curious what Ban Ki Moon thought of her ensemble. Maybe he's actually a big jewelry kind of guy?
See the pic and watch Beyonce's "I Was Here" campaign video below...

From Poverty to Power How Good Governance Made Brazil a Model Nation

Western democracies consider themselves to be efficient, farsighted and just -- in other words, prime examples of "good governance." But in recent years, the euro and debt crises, along with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have shattered faith in the reliability of Western institutions. Disconcerted Europeans are casting a worried eye at newly industrialized nations like China and Brazil. Can the West learn something from countries that for so long sought its advice? In the first of a four-part series, SPIEGEL takes a look at how Brazil is governed today.

Fareed Zakaria Is Bitten by His Own Tale: How He Helped Create the System That Bit Him Back

... Most of the top-paid people in the media are "writers" whom the public are deceived to believe do all the researching and writing of "their" material. The actual writers (usually called "research assistants," or sometimes just "interns"), unlike these bosses, lack the connections to be able to succeed "on their own," and are therefore obscure workers for these aristocrats -- the writing-stars who make the big incomes. If one of these workers bows down sufficiently to his boss so as to be plucked by him to become a star "on his own," then that lucky acolyte will almost certainly share the existing hierarchical values of his boss, and so may become a new aristocrat in the full sense, and go on to produce his own reputation, and perhaps even dynasty. But the others will never win the connections and thus the money...

India’s place in a ‘post-superpower age’ An engaging guide to the issues on which India, as it takes the global stage, will have to pick sides

Review by James Crabtree
Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, by Shashi Tharoor, Penguin India/Allen Lane, RRPRs799/£19.99
He writes beautifully too, and these gifts of style are best employed when he probes the weaknesses of India’s diplomatic establishment, which he characterises as small and disorganised. India has only 900 foreign service officers to staff its 120 missions around the world: “a diplomatic corps roughly equally to Singapore”, and a fraction the size of most countries of comparable economic weight. Tharoor thinks this apparatus must be completely revamped, if his country is to prosper on its newly enlarged global stage. Yet while Pax Indica is admirably frank on these bureaucratic weakness, it is sadly less so on the policies that these institutions produce....

Ready for Primetime? The $100 Billion Climate Fund

After delays and political bickering, a late August date was announced last week to hold the first meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)—the ambitious multilateral funding instrument to help developing countries tackle climate change. We should expect more snags in the coming years as the GCF is pieced together before it is fully operational.
The GCF, proposed at the 2009 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen, is envisioned to amass up to $100 billion a year after 2020 of additional and sustainable funds.  Through grants and concessional loans for climate projects, the fund is expected to finance mitigation and adaptation efforts in poor countries at an unprecedented scale. To put it in perspective, the largest climate fund today—the Climate Investment Funds under the umbrella of the World Bank—has $6.5 billion pledged for the period 2009-2012. The World Bank in total funds some $43 billion in development projects per year.  The GCF could double that.

Ban Ki-Moon’s Moment of Truth

By Ruth Wedgwood
... The residents of the 38th floor have often blamed operational disasters on U.N. member states. After the debacles in Rwanda and Srebrenica, there were long investigations of how to prevent another such mistake. But going to Tehran is a political calamity that will be blamed only on the secretary general himself.
— Ruth Wedgwood is a law professor and member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on Law and National Security. She served for eight years as the U.S. member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva and New York, and directed the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diplomatic Roundtable on the United Nations.

Mad Libs: The United Nations

As the U.N. General Assembly prepares to meet next month, FP asked experts and insiders what role the body -- lately taking heat for its response to crises in Syria and Iran -- should play on the world stage today.

UN, Israel & Anti-Semitism

... Although Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made important pronouncements against anti-Semitism, and even -- before a Jerusalem audience -- against some aspects of the UN's anti-Israel bias, his regular statements on the Arab-Israeli conflict are disproportionately critical of Israel. Senior aide Lakhdar Brahimi publicly described Israel as a country whose policy constitutes "the great poison in the region."...

Obama administration demands UN reform -- but won't threaten to withhold funding

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News
With presidential elections looming, the Obama administration has launched a high-profile campaign in favor of belt-tightening at the United Nations -- but without the threat of withholding U.S. funding for the sprawling world organization.

Life after Rio+20: A Commentary by Mark Halle, IISD

... And since we do not seem ready to do that, we must put a stop to the massive waste of money represented by events like the Rio conference. If our governments are not prepared to move towards sustainability, it is better that our voting populations know this. Calling a failure a success – even a guarded success – is to paper over the ever-widening cracks in the system...

UN launches sustainable development network to help find solutions to global problems

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today launched a new independent global network of research centres, universities and technical institutions to help find solutions for some of the world’s most pressing environmental, social and economic problems.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) will work with stakeholders including business, civil society, UN agencies and other international organizations to identify and share the best pathways to achieve sustainable development, according to a UN news release.
This initiative is part of the work undertaken in response to the mandate on post-2015 and the outcome of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which took place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in June.
The Solutions Network will be directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to Secretary-General Ban on the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It will operate in close coordination with the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. ...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

China Daily: - - China's best play a part on international stage (These are the Chinese players)

China's best play a part on international stage
China's best play a part on international stage

Click here to read this at China Daily:

More Chinese than ever are holding key positions in international organizations in recent years, broadening developing countries' influence on the world stage.

The latest example is Wu Hongbo, former Chinese ambassador to Germany, who was appointed in late May as undersecretary-general for economics and social affairs in the United Nations, replacing Sha Zukang, another Chinese official. Sha had held the position since February 2007.

Before Wu and Sha, Chen Jian was undersecretary-general for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Service of the UN from 2001 to 2007.

Undersecretary-general is the highest position in the UN that can be held by a Chinese citizen, as there is a rule that the UN secretary-general cannot come from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The changes in their areas of responsibility reflect the rise of China's national strength and international influence, said Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Secretariat of the United Nations Association of China.

Chinese officials bring to the table their experience in economic development and addressing the needs of a developing country, adding to the variety and efficiency of international organizations, Zhang said.

In recent years, more Chinese officials have held key positions at international organizations.
In 2011, Zhu Min became the first Chinese to hold the position of deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and Justin Yifu Lin just concluded a four-year term as World Bank chief economist and senior vice-president in June.

Statistics from the UN show that in 2011 China contributed $74.9 million to the organization's annual budget - the eighth most among the 193 UN members.

China currently has less than 500 staff at the UN Secretariat, which is the fewest among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and fewer than UN members such as Pakistan and Japan, Zhang told China Daily.

The number of UN staff allowed for each member country is determined using a formula that includes demographics and GDP, with budget contributions being a decisive factor.
Holding key positions at international organizations "increases China's voice on the world stage and helps China win more rights in international organizations", said Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China.

With the exception of Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization from Hong Kong, and Wu Jianmin, who was elected president of the International Exhibitions Bureau in 2003, Jin noted that the total number of Chinese officials in decision-making positions at international organizations still lags behind other countries such as India and Japan.

"The increase in the number of high-level Chinese officials in international organizations cannot match the growth of China's national strength, which is likely to harm China's national interests in future, as China contributes an increasing amount of money to these international organizations but still lacks power in decision making," Jin said.

"A country's international position is not only reflected by its own national strength, but also the degree of acceptance by the world," Jin said. "One of the indicators is its participation in international organizations."

The largest difficulty for Chinese citizens working in international organizations is cultural differences, Zhang said. Chinese are used to keeping a low profile and are more concerned with the collective honor of a group, while their Western counterparts are aggressive and highlight personal values, Zhang said. Zhang and Jin said most Chinese staff at international organizations are placed in low-level positions.

The inability to master multiple languages also keeps most Chinese from standing out in the competition to become an international civil servant, Jin said. "Some government departments, which have talents fit for the requirements of international organizations, should let them go instead of hanging on to them," Jin said.

China urgently needs to train more qualified professionals as reserve forces to work in international organizations, Zhang said.

In 2011, the United Nations Association of China and the department of international cooperation at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security began co-hosting a training program for international civil servants.

Sponsored by China Ocean Shipping Company, the program has had more than 200 participants in the last two years, mostly university students.

The eight-day program includes an introduction to the UN system, major international issues and lectures by professors and diplomats.

Zhao Liang, 21, participated in the program in 2011. She received an internship with the United Nations Development Programme in China from February to June.

"I hope I can work for the UN in the future, after working at other places and accumulating enough experience to meet the high standards required by the UN," she told China Daily.

Zhao said she will represent China's views and positions when working for an international organization, even though international civil servants are not designated according to a person's home country.

Zhao, who graduated from Renmin University of China this summer, will soon go to the United States to continue her studies in politics.

"I hope this training program will become the starting point of your dreams and a cradle of backup talents for international civil servants from China," Chen, who is president of the UN Association of China, wrote in a foreword for the training program's 2011 student brochure. "It is also expected to help enhance China's capacity in participating in global governance and increase the interest and level of study in international organizations in China," Chen wrote.

Click here to read this at China Daily:

A New Documentary Exposes the U.N.'s DNA

... But one of the most disturbing segments of U.N.Me is entitled "1,000 people every 20 minutes." That was the number of innocent people killed in the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994 due to the failure of Kofi Annan, then U.N. head of peacekeeping missions, to authorize intervention despite having a mission in place ready and willing to act. The film does a superb job of walking the viewer through the background leading up to the extermination of the Rwandan people and the callousness and disregard for human life that occurred under the U.N. watch...