By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis
BERLIN (IDN) – In run-up to the four-week-long quinquennial review of the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the goal of a Middle East free of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery remains a distant dream. And so does the Helsinki Conference that should have been convened in December 2012.
All indications are that also the Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) influential countries of the world – Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States – do not see a silver lining on the horizon. They met ahead of G7 summit June 7-8.
By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis
GENEVA (IDN) - Access to medicines, even if a person is too poor to afford it, is a cornerstone to the realization of the right to health and life. There has been significant progress in new and better medicines. However prices of the medicines are often priced so high so as to be out of reach of the poor or even the middle classes in many countries, not only in developing but also in developed countries.
A major reason for this is the monopoly granted to drug companies through patents, which prevents competition. Sometimes the prices are so astronomical so as to make super profits for the companies. The latest example is the new drug for hepatitis C, sofosbuvir, which is sold for USD84,000 for a 12 week course, or USD1,000 a pill. Profits for the company Gilead have run at many billions of dollars already.
By Shastri Ramahandaran* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint
MUMBAI (IDN) - All these years, if India could bat above its league on the world stage, it is not only because of being favoured – over other, more powerful developing countries – by the Anglo-American axis. The dominance of English and, rightly or otherwise, the values and versatility associated with India’s English-speaking elite, including officials, have contributed greatly to India’s acceptance at high tables.
More than any of the above, India’s distinctive edge in world affairs is because it is a robust, if flawed, democracy: a liberal, tolerant, pluralistic Union with enviable political, social and cultural diversity. India may be a “Third World” economy, but it is valued as being home to minds and human resources that can match, if not excel, the best in “advanced countries”.
So when Narendra Modi rode to office on the promise of development and growth, the expectation abroad was that India would now add to its democratic strengths and attractions by improving economic performance and minimising corruption.
By Mel Frykberg | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis
RAMALLAH (IDN) – Regional reactions to the April 2 framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme have been mixed both in Israel and its Arab neighbourhood. Vested interests including geopolitical ambitions, economic competition, religious ideology, personal political ambition, and strategic alliances have all played their part in this mixed reaction.
By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis
BERLIN | SENDAI (IDN) - Tearing down ideological barriers and overcoming historical animosities, civil society organisations from Japan, China and the Republic of Korea participated in a landmark trilateral forum during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
By A.D. McKenzie | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis
PARIS (IDN) - As world leaders prepare to meet in New York next month for the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), French activists say they are not holding their breath for any real commitment to enforce the 45-year-old accord.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews | IPS
Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which ended on Mar. 18.- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced a new 10-year global plan to support country efforts to reduce the risk of disasters that kill people and destroy livelihoods. The plan was unveiled at the
“Called ‘5-10-50’, the programme will support countries and communities to deliver better risk-informed development, and targets 50 countries over 10 years, with a focus on five critical areas: risk awareness and early warning; risk-governance and mainstreaming; preparedness; resilient recovery; and local/urban risk reduction,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said at a special event on Mar. 17 in Sendai, in the centre of Japan’s Tohoku region, which bore the brunt of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews | IPS
- The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction concluded on Wednesday after a long drawn-out round of final negotiations, with representatives of 187 U.N. member states finally agreeing on what is being described as a far-reaching new framework for the next 15 years: 2015-2030.
By Mel Frykberg | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEL AVIV | RAMALLAH (IDN) - Six world powers are looking towards the end of June to reach an agreement in regard to Iran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting the sanctions imposed on the Islamic theocracy.
In the interim Iran’s nuclear ambitions are once again dominating the headlines as the Western powers look to the end of March for an agreement on a political framework before June’s deadline.
This framework agreement comes shortly before the next Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference from April 27 to May 22, 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York.
- Women play a critical role in reducing disaster risk and planning and decision-making during and after disasters strike, according to senior United Nations, government and civil society representatives.
By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalyis
SYDNEY (IDN) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot acted angrily to a United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report accusing Australia of violating the UN Convention against Torture, reproving it of bias and claiming that Australians are sick of being lectured to by the UN.
The UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, from Argentina, who investigated allegations of torture in 68 countries, tabled his report on March 9 at the UNHRC annual gathering in Geneva, where a section on Australia said that the government was systematically violating the international Convention Against Torture by confining children in immigration detention, and holding asylum seekers in dangerous and violent conditions on remote South Pacific islands.