Blog Roundup #99

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Rikomatic: “The United Nations recently concluded an international conference on early warning in Bonn, Germany. Over 1,200 participants from 140 countries participated in the gathering, that concluded that a “people-centered” approach was needed to build effective early-warning systems to prevent the loss of human life from natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis and pandemics. As a preparation for the conference, a “Global Survey of Early Warning Systems” [PDF] was prepared by the UN, that details what capacity already exists for early warning, what the major gaps are.”Paper Chase: “UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday called on states to ratify the 1997 anti-personnel mine ban treaty and said that it should only take ten years to rid the world of all land mines will take ten years to complete, not 100 years as previously estimated. Annan’s message was made to open the first International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, designed to promote action among UN member states to aid in the removal of land mines throughout the world. Land mines are estimated to claim up to 20,000 victims each year, and an unknown number of mines are buried in at least 60 countries, with Cambodia, Afghanistan and Columbia claiming the most victims in 2004.”

Chris Allan: “The United Nations (UNESCO) has published a document on bioethics and controversially linking this to human rights. In particular it stresses the rights on individuals needs over societal needs. Most developing countries have no bioethical guidelines, so on one level this can be seen as a step in the right direction. It promotes the implementation of ethics committees and a more considered approach in this area.”

Congowatch: “UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan held separate talks in New York March 31 with top African and European officials on Darfur, Sudan, and the DRC, UN News Centre reported 31 Mar 2006: “In a meeting with Mr Konare, Chair of the AU Commission, the two discussed the Abuja peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur. They also discussed support for the AU force in Darfur, including the possibility of a donors’ conference. On the DRC, they reviewed a number of issues, including how to ensure an inclusive electoral progress.”

War in Context: “United Nations aid organizations are warning that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster due to a lack of money and food. David Shearer, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Foreign Ministry officials that if there is no significant change in the situation, Gaza will face a humanitarian crisis as bad as the one in Kosovo. A report by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warns of a lack of basic food supplies due to the frequent closures of the Karni crossing that are preventing goods from reaching Gaza from Egypt. The report also said there has been a significant increase in the number of hungry people since financial aid has been halted. [complete article]