World Goodwill Attends 2017 Forum on Culture of Peace at UN

October 25, 2017

Every year since 2012 the President of the UN General Assembly has convened a High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace. With the support of member nations (102 governments sponsored the resolution calling for this year’s event) the Forum aims to highlight emerging trends impacting on the realization of the culture of peace, defined as a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviour and ways of life based on universal principles of freedom, justice and peace. 


Where the World Goes to Talk it Over: The UN General Assembly

September 6, 2017

This thoughtful essay in the September edition of Le Monde diplomatique by Anne-Cécile Robert and Romuald Sciora provides insight into recent developments at the General Assembly. It highlights the important role that the Assembly is playing in international affairs. 

The GA is the only representative body for the planet, yet it is not a world parliament: only elections could give it the legitimacy of a parliament in a democratic state and that is probably unrealistic. However, the GA is unique in its ability to reflect change in international relations (the surprise election of Thomson, the mobilisation of small states and China) and in its values, derived from the UN charter, harnessing the desire for power in the service of collective security. At a time when the redrawing of the geopolitical map is raising tensions, it is, despite imperfections, the only forum conducive to the establishment of a progressive international order.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres gives talk on future of UN in London

May 17, 2017

Speaking for the first time in London as UN Secretary-General, António Guterres outlined the major challenges which he anticipates for the work of the UN in the coming years, and indicated the priorities he would pursue as Secretary-General. The meeting, organised by the UN Association UK, took place in Westminster Central Hall, the site of the very first session of the United Nations General Assembly, in 1946.

The full speech, followed by a lively Q & A session, is available on YouTube. Mr Guterres' remarks begin at 14 minutes and 20 seconds.

Some reflections on his remarks:


Global Norms: Building an Inclusive Multilateralism

April 3, 2017

Former UNDP Assistant Secretary General, Dr. Bruce Jenks, discusses the UN's role in establishing basic rules and norms for international relations:  

In the history of the United Nations, there have been turning points when the UN has had the vision to see an opportunity emerge and to seize that opportunity, thereby reaffirming its relevance and vitality. In a rapidly changing world, where the world as we know it is changing before our eyes, the web of values and normative frameworks that lie at the foundation of so many of the processes required for an inclusive globalisation need to be nurtured, perhaps adapted and certainly strengthened. In his oath of office speech, the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, noted that “Today´s paradox is that, despite greater connectivity, societies are becoming more fragmented … In the end, it comes down to values. We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter: peace, justice,respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.”

Identity Politics and Intolerance a Barrier to Development, says UN Report

March 27, 2017

The United Nations annual Human Development Report has just been released. It's theme is Human Development for Everyone.

In this Guardian report Brexit is cited as an example of a nationalist agenda that could hold back progress on the global goals.

The annual human development index said that at a time when global action and collaboration were imperative in achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030, exclusion and intolerance could prevent progress reaching everyone. “Brexit is one of the most recent examples of a retreat to nationalism … ” the report said. “Intolerance of others in all its forms – legal, social or coercive – is antithetical to human development.”

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