OpEd: modernizing calculations for official development assistance has resulted in stronger support for the SG’s development agenda.

by Sebastian Borchmeyer. Read more on PassBlue.

Recovery efforts on Fiji, after Cyclone Yasa swept through the island nation aided by the United Nations Development Program’s Pacific Office, January 2021.
Recovery efforts on Fiji, after Cyclone Yasa swept through the island nation aided by the United Nations Development Program’s Pacific Office, January 2021.
The United Nations Development Program’s Pacific Office offered recovery help after Cyclone Yasa swept through the island nation of Fiji, January 2021. The author of this essay explains how modernizing calculations for official development assistance to the UN has resulted in stronger support for the secretary-general’s development agenda.

For 60 years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has measured money flows to developing countries. It adopted the benchmark standard for foreign aid, which it coined Official Development Assistance — or ODA — in 1969.

In 2020, the OECD Development Assistance Committee, a forum of 30 member states overseeing ODA standards, made a decision that could have a lasting effect on how donor countries perceive the work of the Secretariat of the United Nations. …


Exclusive interview with Vijay Nambiar, a special adviser to Kofi Annan & Ban Ki-moon, charged with following events in Burma/Myanmar.

by Barbara Crossette. Read more on PassBlue.

The military of Burma/Myanmar, called the Tatmadaw, celebrating Armed Forces Day in 2021 and its Feb. 1 coup over the democratically elected government. WIKIPEDIA
The military of Burma/Myanmar, called the Tatmadaw, celebrating Armed Forces Day in 2021 and its Feb. 1 coup over the democratically elected government. WIKIPEDIA

For more than a decade, from 2004 to 2017, Vijay Nambiar was a special adviser to United Nations secretaries-general Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, charged with following events in Burma, which the military generals renamed Myanmar in 1989. A former deputy national security adviser to the government of India and Indian ambassador to the UN in 2002–2004, Nambiar is also a specialist on China, where he was India’s ambassador from 1996 to 2000.

Now retired in India, Myanmar’s powerful neighbor to the west, Nambiar spoke to PassBlue in an exclusive interview by phone…


This Week @ the UN: summarizing the most pressing issues facing the organization.

by Ivana Ramirez. Read more on PassBlue.

Children of the St Clare Orphanage in Juba, South Sudan
Children of the St Clare Orphanage in Juba, South Sudan

Afghanistan mega-peace talks in Istanbul; Russia the spoiler; could a Latin American woman lead the UN down the road or sooner?

You are reading This Week @UN, summarizing the most pressing issues facing the organization. The information is gathered from UN press briefings, PassBlue reporting and other sources.

We at PassBlue are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, on April 15, 2021, at age 87. Gregorian was a former president of Brown University and the New York Public Library, an illustrious…


These Latin American women are being informally mentioned as potential candidates to run for SG, most likely for the five-year term starting in 2027.

by Maurizio Guerrero. Read more PassBlue.

Silvia Rucks, a Uruguayan who is the United Nations resident coordinator in Chile, July 30, 2018.
Silvia Rucks, a Uruguayan who is the United Nations resident coordinator in Chile, July 30, 2018.

Six Latin American names are being circulated in regional political circles as possible candidates to become the first woman to lead the United Nations, while the current secretary-general, António Guterres, will most likely be re-elected for the upcoming five-year term, starting in 2022. So women appear to be lining up to cast their names for the term thereafter.

Despite Guterres having no official national challengers so far, six civil society applicants have submitted their names for this year’s selection process, a spokesperson for the General Assembly president’s office confirmed recently. …


A q and a with Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, the founder of the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders.

by Sonah Lee-Lassiter. Read more on PassBlue.

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza in the organization’s base in New York City, March 2021. Photo Credit: John Penney
Mavic Cabrera-Balleza in the organization’s base in New York City, March 2021. Photo Credit: John Penney

In 2010, Maria Victoria (Mavic) Cabrera-Balleza founded an organization to help and advocate for the rights of women and girls globally, but it was her childhood experiences that first politicized her. Martial law was declared by the dictator President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines in 1972, when she was in fourth grade.

Born in Manila, Cabrera-Balleza grew up as part of a generation witnessing and experiencing human-rights violations in their own backyards in the Philippines. Militarized state police raided neighborhoods, entering homes without search warrants, to look for guns and forcing all men…


An April UNSC debate on sexual violence in conflict will address victims’ care over the responsibility of countries to stop abuses & prosecute perpetrators.

by Barbara Crossette. Read more on PassBlue.

Human-rights advocates around the world are assessing how much lasting damage could still be done to universal human rights after the four-year assault from the Trump administration. Although the Trump years ended with the swearing-in of President Joe Biden in January, civil society organizations and governments understand that an American turnaround could be slow and fragile. …


OpEd: A source of the migration influx from Central America is “America’s indiscriminate and criminal meddling” in that region.

by Stephen Schlessinger. Read more on PassBlue.

Vice President Kamala Harris is now in charge of resolving the migration problem at the United States-Mexico border. The author, a US historian, argues that one source that has been driving the migration influx from Central America is “America’s indiscriminate and criminal meddling” in that region over seven-plus decades. A caravan of migrants reaching Mexico, above, in November 2018. RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ/IOM

While the United Nations focuses fitfully on its own long string of refugee problems, President Joe Biden has tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to resolve the problems of migration at the United States-Mexico border. There are legitimate reasons for Americans to be concerned about the flood of migrants, mostly coming from Central America. But those concerns mainly center on our public policy, not the legitimacy of immigration itself. As a nation, we have failed to revise and update our immigration statutes to appropriately answer the question of whom among the men, women and…


This Week @UN, our summary highlighting the most important news from Turtle Bay.

by Ivana Ramirez. Read more on PassBlue.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of the UN mission in Mali, said of the recent massive assault on Chadian peacekeepers: “The vigorous response shown by the peacekeepers based in Aguelhok following the complex terrorist attack of this morning, April 2, deserves to be written down in gold letters in the history of UN operations.”

The Myanmar crisis isn’t going away; global bias against older people; Vietnam leads the Security Council; Chadian peacekeepers killed and wounded in Mali.

You are reading This Week @UN, summarizing the most pressing issues facing the organization. The information is gathered from UN press briefings, PassBlue reporting and other sources.

A huge thank you to all our donors, who ensure that we keep a close reporting eye on the UN — including the Biden administration’s new relationship with the world body; gains, setbacks and blips to women’s rights; and the befuddled secretary-general selection…


OpEd: A 2018 agreement is “gaining space in the Latin American agenda.” The only problem is, Brazil has not ratified it.

by Gabrielle Alves. Read more on PassBlue.

An image 3 people in traditional dress who took part in a 2019 meeting of indigenous people which drew thousands, in Brazil.
An image 3 people in traditional dress who took part in a 2019 meeting of indigenous people which drew thousands, in Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Regional cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean is declining, with intergovernmental organizations, such as the Organization of American States and Mercosur, nearly paralyzed or underperforming because of political divergences among member states, weak commitments and lack of resources. Yet despite these setbacks, a promising initiative is gaining space in the Latin American agenda: the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters — the Escazú Agreement.

The pact is named after the place where it was adopted in 2018, in Costa…


Ageism, a new study finds, is “prevalent, ubiquitous and insidious” and not getting enough global attention.

by Barbara Crossette. read more on PassBlue.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., a cafe on the Coney Island boardwalk draws people of all ages, soaking up the sun in the pandemic, October 2020. JOHN PENNEY

During more than a year of tracking the parameters of Covid-19, medical science has made one thing clear: the virus hits the elderly hardest. Yet their vulnerability is often taken as fate. A new international study disagrees. Prejudice, institutional bias and societal discrimination against older people in both rich and poor countries, it says, set the stage long before the virus struck. There was nothing inevitable about the pandemic’s effects.

Tapping into scores of research from dozens of countries for the study, “Global Report on Ageism,” experts argue that it is a persistent…

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Independent Coverage the United Nations. A project of The New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, supported by the Carnegie Corporation.

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