screen grab from Sputnick

What Putin’s North Korea Visit Means for the United Nations | Progress on Gaza and Sudan at the Security Council | Plus, Who Should Replace UN Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths?

Cover art by Sarah DiMichele

As we sat down to record the debut episode of our new podcast about the United Nations on Wednesday afternoon, Vladimir Putin was being feted in Pyongyang by Kim Jong Un and his cadres. The two had just signed a security pact revived from the Cold War era, signaling an ever-closer alliance and marking the death knell of nearly 20 years of North Korea nuclear diplomacy at the Security Council. (Russia, after all, is violating the very Security Council sanctions on North Korea that it once supported!) We discuss the implications of North Korea no longer being on the Security Council’s agenda, and what rising geopolitical tensions suggest about about the Council’s role in managing global crises.

Meanwhile, over the last ten days we’ve seen the first meaningful progress at the Security Council on the two worst crises in the world today: Gaza and Sudan. We discuss what lead to a near-unanimous Security Council resolutions on a Gaza ceasefire proposal and a Sudan resolution aimed at stopping an attack on a major city in Darfur. We discuss whether or not these resolutions can push the warring parties to a cessation of hostilities and what to make of a rather awkward (and heated!) encounter between the Sudanese and Emirati ambassadors to the UN.

We wrap up with conversation about Martin Griffiths, the top UN humanitarian official who is leaving his post at the end of the month. We discuss why the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs is arguably the second most important position at the UN behind the Secretary-General, who might replace him—and why this position has always gone to a British diplomat in recent years. The last non-Brit to hold this post, Jan Egeland, joins us to offer his advice for the incoming top UN humanitarian official.

Also discussed:

  • Why a new UN report on children and armed conflict has exacerbated already deteriorating relations between Antonio Guterres and the Israeli ambassador the UN.
  • Why Malta’s UN ambassador Vanessa Frazier’s stock is rising around the UN.
  • Is Jan Egeland the ultimate United Nations Superhero Man?

Have questions or want to react to anything you heard on the show? We have an open chat for listeners to share their thoughts and pose questions. A transcript of this episode will be available soon.

The podcast is available across all podcast listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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