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On Monday, CGD senior fellow Kim Elliott and I met in Geneva with World Trade Organization (WTO) staff and members of the subcommittee on the least developed countries (known as the LDC group) who are preparing for the once-a-decade United Nations conference focused on least developed countries.
This September the UN will host another major summit to evaluate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals -- the 8 goals, 20 targets and 60+ indicators agreed at the UN summit a decade ago. Bill Easterly reminds us today that the way the particular goals were chosen made it almost impossible for Africa to “succeed”.
A dashing Brazilian man who keeps a flakjacket in his midtown Manhattan office, two firefighters from New York and Miami, a terrorist attack, and an attempted rescue using nothing but a string and a ladies handbag. Would you believe that this is a film about the United Nations? Sergio, which premiered on HBO this month, is the story of Sergio Vieira de Mello, an extraordinary public servant who died in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq. The film (based on the book by Pulitzer-prize winning author Samantha Power) is a tribute to his leadership and service in the world’s worst troublespots.
Sergio Vieira de Mello began his career with the United Nations in Bangladesh, at the age of 23, and continued to mediate conflicts for the next three decades in countries such as Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Mozambique, and Lebanon.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon yesterday appointedChristiana Figueres (currently a senior climate negotiator for Costa Rica), to replace Yvo de Boer at the helm of the UN’s climate secretariat (UNFCCC).
According to its website, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has stopped accepting nominations for its UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. But we are guessing that the applicant pool remains quite small. Frankly, who would want his or her name affiliated with one of Africa’s worst dictators? Besides UNESCO, that is.
Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a new, large, experimental intervention to promote economic development in 13 clusters of small and very poor villages across Africa. It has been driven forward by Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s foremost economists, and today is a joint effort of Columbia University, Millennium Promise, and the United Nations.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been getting negative press about the relief efforts after the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Perhaps worst is a scathing report from Refugees International accusing the UN of ineffectual leadership, missing coordination, and weak communication while an estimated 1.2 million Haitians remain displaced. Though much of the report consists of standard blandishments (the authors spent just 10 days in-country), there is indeed evidence of serious negligence. To give just one example: the organization initially planned on allowing itself two and a half months—well into the rainy season—to distribute plastic sheeting to protect the displaced. It took a personal intervention from a senior official to get this activity moved up.