UN Talk Radio Day: Al Sharpton and Alan Colmes

Al Sharpton and Alan Colmes just signed off. Gordon Deal from Wall Street Journal Radio is interviewing Jehane Lavandero the Spokeswoman from UNICEF; Jack Rice is talking to Gillian Sorenson, UN Foundation Senior Advisor and National Advocate; Rusty Humphries is taking calls from listeners; Marc Bernier is talking with Michael Harris, publisher of Talkers, and Paige Medley from Student Service Talk Radio is interviewing UN Foundation Communications officer Amy DiElsi in the back.

A little earlier in the afternoon, Alan Colmes talked to Steve Kraus, chief of the HIV/AIDS branch of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Colmes was particularly struck by a fact that Kraus mentioned halfway through the interview–180 of the 192 nations in the world fund UNFPA, and the United States is one of the 12 that don’t. The U.S. played a key role in the creation of the agency, but, in 2001, support for funding dried up in the U.S. Administration said Kraus, although UNFPA still has many Congressional supporters. Kraus went on to say “if you want to deal with HIV/AIDS you have to talk about sex. Some leaders are uncomfortable talking about it.”

At the same time, German Perm Rep Thomas Matussek was talking to Al Sharpton about global warming. He also discussed the Security Council’s session on climate change in April and the need for all UN agencies to interact on this important issue. Ambassador Matussek later sat down with Colmes, who was interested in Security Council reform. Matussek said that the current setup excludes three-fifths of humankind–Africa, India, and South America. He also went on a riff about global interconnectedness. “In the 21st century, what does sovereignty mean? If [Federal Reserve Chief Ben] Bernanke raises the interest rate, we feel it in Europe.”

Colmes also had time to sit down with Noeleen Heyzer executive director of UNIFEM, who mentioned the role of her agency in preventing conflict and the importance of gender equality in creating and strengthening democracy. With regard to the U.S., Heyzer said that, while the American government has been supportive of UNIFEM in the past, she’d like to see the U.S. support women’s rights in a more obvious way especially by signing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) treaty.