Blog Roundup #96

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Science Blog: “A far wider range of species, some of them rare and endangered, may be affected by highly virulent avian flu than has previously been supposed, ranging from big cats like leopards and tigers to other mammals like martens, weasels and badgers to 80 per cent of all bird species, the United Nations environmental agency warned today.”Paper Chase: “The UN Commission on Human Rights was formally abolished Wednesday by a resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council adopted without a formal vote. The resolution calls for the completion of the commission’s currently-suspended sixty-second session and the final shutdown of the organization on June 16, when it will be replaced by the new UN Human Rights Council created last week by a General Assembly resolution that passed 170-4 over objections from the United States, Israel, the Marshall island and Palau. The first meeting of the Council is scheduled for June 19 in Geneva. The Commission, created in 1946, had been highly sharply criticized for allowing countries with continued human rights violations to win seats and protect each other from inquiries. Elections for the smaller, somewhat more stringent Council will be held May 9. Reuters has more.”

Sookie Tex: “World Water Day, March 22, 2005, marks the start of the Water for Life Decade, 2005–2015, a new United Nations International Decade for Action. The decade-long effort will improve the chances of achieving international water-related goals, including that of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: by 2015, to reduce by 50% the proportion of persons without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. An estimated 1.1 billion persons lack access to an improved water source, and 2.6 billion persons lack access to adequate sanitation.”

World Changing: “The idea that open source is political underlies many of the posts here on WorldChanging that talk about Linux and its brethren. Alex’s 2003 “Redistributing the Future” sums up this concept well, but we frequently build on the argument that the real value of Linux, and the free/libre/open source model in general, is that it enables previously technologically-dependent communities to build the tools that they need with their own skills, and become a global participant as a producer of ideas, not simply a consumer. We’re not alone in this belief; the United Nations University‘s International Institute for Software Technology has fully embraced the idea of open source as a developmental driver. They think of it as “technological self-determination,” and they’ve come up with forward-looking programs to help this come about.”