UN recap: December 12-17, 2021
Here’s a quick look at what the international community did last week, seen from the United Nations perch.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths called for flexible and sustained international funding before the end of the year to prevent a further collapse of the Afghan economy. He told VOA in an interview that he would urge the United States to help during his meeting next week with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.
UN chief for aid: Afghan economy must restart before year-end
COVID-19 ‘won’t go away’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented grim predictions for 2022, saying on December 16 that COVID-19 “will not go away” and that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic.
UN chief: Vaccines alone won’t end pandemic
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council on December 14 that Iran is “slowing down” talks on the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna. She said Tehran’s actions would not give them any bargaining power.
US Civil Servant: Nuclear Talks “Slow Down” with Iran
Security Council resolution
On December 13, Russia vetoed a draft Security Council resolution warning of the security implications of climate change. The landmark proposal was supported by 113 countries among UN members, including countries on the front lines of the climate crisis.
Russia veto UN resolution on climate impact on global security
– On December 13, the UN said food aid intended for starving Ethiopians was stolen from the World Food Program by gunmen in northern Ethiopia. The incident, in the town of Kombolcha, in the northern province of Amhara, occurred on the night of December 10.
The UN said 18 WFP trucks were stolen by forces believed to belong to either the “Ethiopian National Defense Forces or an affiliated allied military force.” Fifteen trucks have since been returned and three are still missing, along with their drivers. It was the second time in days that humanitarian supplies had been looted or stolen from WFP.
– In Geneva, on December 17, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution drafted by the European Union calling for the creation of an international commission of human rights experts on the Ethiopia at an extraordinary session.
A third of the 47 council members must agree to hold an extraordinary session and none of the 13 African members voted to have it. The resolution, adopted by a vote of 21 countries in favor, 15 against and 11 abstentions, authorizes the president of the HRC to appoint three experts initially for one year to investigate, collect and preserve evidence of human rights violations committed by all parties. to the conflict in Tigray since it began in November 2020. Ethiopia’s federal government rejected Friday’s meeting, saying it was politically motivated.
Some good news
The World Health Organization and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the leading cancer treatment centers in the United States, have formed a partnership to provide cancer drugs free of charge to children in developing countries.
New initiative provides free treatment for children with cancer in developing countries
“There is no way for Lebanon to find the right path if Lebanese political leaders are not able to understand that now is the time, probably the last possible moment, to come together.”
– UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the political and economic crisis in Lebanon, where he arrives on Sunday for a three-day visit.
Libya is preparing for presidential and legislative elections on December 24, but these were called into question last week when the upper house of parliament called for a two-month postponement for the presidential elections, due to disagreements over the legal framework elections and who is eligible to run.
With barely a week before the ballot, there is no final list of candidates and there is little time left to print one for the ballots.
Did you know?
The UN Security Council has five permanent members with veto power (Great Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States). The 10 other members are elected for two-year terms in groups of five alternately.
On December 31, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam will end their terms of office. On January 1, 2022, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates will take their seats. The other five elected members are India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.