UN Embarks on a New Process to Choose Ban’s Successor

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - UN Seretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s successor will not be elected by a secret ballot by the 193 member states of the United Nations. But the General Assembly and the Security Council presidents have agreed on a selection process that might mark a watershed.

According to the UN Charter, the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly following the recommendation of the Security Council. The format agreed by the General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and the President of the Security Council Samantha Power does not axe the powers exercised particularly by the Council.


UN Urges Swift Implementation of Japan-Korea Landmark Accord

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Report

NEW YORK (IDN)  - Nearly one-and-a-half years ago, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s predecessor, Navi Pillay, expressed profound regret that Japan had not provided effective redress to Korean victims of wartime sexual slavery leading back to the end of the Second World War.

The agreement reached on December 28 after protracted negotiations between Japan and South Korea – with support by UN human rights experts – seeks to redress the international community has been asking for. According to UN News, the accord reportedly involves an official apology from Japan and a promised payment of $8.3 million for the victims.


Kazakhstan Keen on Building a Joint Future for Asia and Europe

By Erlan IDRISSOV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan*

ASTANA (IDN | ASEF) - From its first days as an independent country, Kazakhstan has been guided by the principle of “economy first and then politics”. Thanks to this principle and the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, our country has developed its economy very rapidly.

We are now determined to build on this success and, with the adoption of the “Kazakhstan – 2050” strategy, have set a goal of joining the list of the world’s 30 most developed countries.

With this strategy and by strengthening cooperation and dialogue with our international partners, we intend to develop our domestic industries, gain modern experience, attract innovations, exchange technologies and develop investment cooperation.


U.S. Controls Global Arms Market, Says Congressional Report

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN (IDN) - “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” declared U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in April 1953. A new report shows that these remarks remain relevant and yet unheeded 62 years later.

While hunger, poverty and depravity continue to stalk developing lands, the report by the prestigious Congressional Research Service (CRS) finds that the United States remains the single largest weapons supplier to developing nations, controlling more than 50 percent of the global arms market. From 2011 to 2014, Washington made arms supply agreements worth nearly $115 billion with developing nations.


El Niño Might Continue Through First Months of 2016

By Humberto Jaime and Jennifer Guralnick* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

PANAMA, Panama (IDN) - While in North America, cities such as New York and several others in the United States have witnessed the hottest Christmas on record and with extreme flooding and tornados resulting in more than 40 deaths in states such as New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois, Mexico experienced unusual snowfalls whereas flooding is being faced in the United Kingdom as well as in South America where heavy rains and severe flooding have led to more than 170 thousand people being evacuated in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.


Strong El Niño Threatens Southern Africa at the Start of 2016

By Veronica Nicolosi | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

ROME (IDN) - The El Niño weather phenomenon is expected to be the fiercest in 18 years at the start of 2016 and threatens to adversely affect crop and livestock production prospects in Southern Africa, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

A reduced agricultural output would follow on 2015 disappointing season, which has already contributed to higher food prices and “could acutely impact the food security situation in 2016,” said to a special alert released on December 22 by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).


Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons High on UN Agenda in 2016

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - An open-ended working group of the United Nations General Assembly for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world is, along with the Sustainable Development Goals, an important agenda item that the year 2015 has bequeathed to 2016.


African Bank Upbeat About Sustainable Development

By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepthNews Feature

TORONTO | ABIDJAN (IDN) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) is upbeat about 2016 and hopes to build on unprecedented development in 2015 which in its view would go down in history as a year “when the world decided that the time had finally come to set aside individual differences and to forge a new development paradigm for the planet”.


Ban Ki-moon Unhappy With UN’s 5.4 Billion Dollar Budget

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

A wide view of the General Assembly. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas (file)

NEW YORK (IDN) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is far from satisfied with a budget of $5.4 billion the 193-member General Assembly adopted on December 23 for the United Nations to carry out its vital work in 2016 and 2017. This two-year budget is less than 7% of the $77.7 billion preliminary budget New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed for 2016 in February 2015.


UN Condemns Destruction of World Heritage Sites as ‘War Crimes’

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Feature

Ancient City of Bosra, Syrian, World Heritage site. Photo: ©UNESCO/Véronique Dauge

PARIS (IDN) - With extremist assaults continuing unabated on striking symbols of Syria’s cultural diversity, the United Nations has condemned archaeological devastation of yet another major World Heritage site. Earlier, in October, it had declared such acts as “war crimes” and assured that those responsible “would be tried and punished”.


Doha Can Survive A Severe Blow If Developing Nations Unite

By Chakravarthi Raghavan | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

GENEVA (IDN | TWN) - When the WTO's Nairobi Ministerial Conference (MC10) ended on December 19, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo and Kenya Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed were beaming that they had pulled off a coup of sorts in a successful Conference, with a Declaration and decisions – with the U.S. and the EU, acclaiming both of them.