By Manish Rai* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW DELHI (IDN) - Nearly three years of bloody civil war in Syria have created what the United Nations, governments and international humanitarian organizations describe as the most challenging refugee crisis in a generation bigger than the one unleashed by the Rwandan genocide and laden with the sectarianism of the Balkan wars.
With no end in sight in the conflict and with large parts of Syria already destroyed, governments and humanitarian as well as other organizations are quietly preparing for the refugee crisis to last years. This is the crisis that has been called the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of this century and condemned by the UN as a "disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history".
By Peter Tase* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (IDN) - Over the past three years, Nicaragua has been trying to deepen ties with major European Union countries, paying special attention to the establishment of various sustainable development initiatives.
Nowhere is the strategy more apparent than in Foreign Minister Samuel Santos’ visit to Brussels and Strasbourg in December of 2010, where he secured financing from the European Commission for the Nicaragua Education Project (PROSEN) and funding for anti-dengue and rural public health campaigns from Luxembourg.
By Taro Ichikawa | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TOKYO (IDN) - Caroline Kennedy was just 20 years old when she accompanied her uncle, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, to Hiroshima, site of the first U.S. bomb attack that killed 140,000 people on August 6, 1945. In a Senate hearing in September, confirming her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, she said she was deeply moved by her visit in 1978 that included a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
In her video message to the people of Japan posted before assuming office on November 12, 2013, she remarked that her trip to Hiroshima had left her "with a profound desire to work for a better, more peaceful world".
By Erik Solheim* | IDN-InDepth NewsDocument
While the international community has learned much about what works in terms of reducing poverty, and the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people whose income is less than USD 1.25 a day, it is far from achieving the overarching MDG goal of eradicating extreme poverty. Subsequently, "getting to zero" remains a challenge in the face of the intractable difficulties of reaching those mired in extreme poverty, says the OECD Development Co-operation Report (DCR) 2013, which explores what needs to be done to achieve rapid and sustainable progress in the global fight to reduce poverty. But Erik Solheim, a former Norwegian Minister of International Development, and current Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, insists in an Editorial to the Report that ‘We Can, And Must, End Poverty’.
By Kanaga Raja* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA, (IDN | SUNS) - The ninth session of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) came to a close on the morning of December 7, after adopting a Ministerial Declaration, the entire Bali package of ten texts, and five other Ministerial decisions.
The conference, which began on December 3 and was scheduled to end on December 6, spilled over into Saturday , when a very small group of countries, citing some concerns, had refused to join the consensus on the draft Bali package at an earlier informal Heads of Delegation (HOD) meeting.
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - Madiba’s long walk through life has ended after 95 years.
It was an epic and inspirational journey of self-sacrifice for the causes he believed in; persecution and pain endured stoically; 27 years of solitary confinement amidst the deafening silence of the great powers who now join in acclaiming him; crowned with the final victory of liberating his people from the enslavement of apartheid to being equal partners in a non-racial democracy of which he was fittingly elected the first President.
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - Even cynics must admit that the time comes in international relations when long frozen situations suddenly thaw causing positive change for international peace and security. Examples of such “game-changers” are many but outstanding are (in chronological order): U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China; the 1978 Camp David Agreement on the Middle East; the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signifying the end of the Cold War; and President Willelm de Klerk’s release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 leading to the final dismantlement of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.
We have been fortunate to witness two of such dramatic events in quick succession in 2013. There was, in September, the agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons and although the Syrian civil war continues its bloody course the worst is seemingly over and we are headed towards the Geneva II Conference announced for the end of January 2014.
By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BONN (IDN) – A huge amount of some 5.7 trillion US dollar – 5,700,000,000,000 – is required yearly to build a green infrastructure by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C, a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates.
Developing countries in particular are in pressing need of adequate funds to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) plays an important role in providing the necessary funding. Continued warming from the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere is projected to have substantial adverse impacts on the environment, human health and the economy.
By Robert A. Manning* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - The debate over the nuclear deal with Iran may obscure an intriguing new reality: Iran approaching a “Gorbachev Moment.” Of course, the skeptics may be right. It could all be a ruse, with Iran pocketing the benefits and biding its time. But is it just possible that the logic leading Iran to temper its nuclear ambitions is the result of a perfect storm of sanctions wrecking a grossly mismanaged economy, internal political shifts and Persian Imperial Overstretch?
The interim accord restricts Iran’s enrichment to 5 percent; neutralizes its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, easily refined to weapons grade; halts key elements of construction of Arak, its plutonium-producing facility; and provides adequate International Atomic Energy Agency verification, though that needs to be more intrusive in a final agreement, lending confidence of early warning in the event of any nuclear breakout. The accord offers Iran only modest sanctions relief, maintaining incentives for a comprehensive deal. This may be all the political traffic will bear.
Some would resist any deal that doesn’t completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. But there is also danger that, if the US is viewed as rejecting a reasonable compromise, the global coalition putting the sanctions in place could unravel.
By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) – The signing of the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the member states of the P5+1 group of world powers, first of all scored a victory for a negotiated and diplomatic approach over the policy of sanctions and mounting pressure.
Foreign ministers from six major world powers – the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia – and Iran reached the conclusion in the morning of November 24, 2013, that it was better for everybody to sign an agreement, which would put an end to ten years of difficult diplomatic confrontation between the two sides. It seemed that everybody had won.
By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW DELHI (IDN) - One truly “international” act that India appears to have got right is the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). In this centenary year of Indian cinema, the 44th edition of IFFI, which was hosted in Goa for the 10th year, would be remembered for some unforgettable films and the presence of great filmmakers.
Increasingly, audiences – both classes and masses – are attracted to IFFI for the quality and variety of cinematic offerings. Glitter and glamour are no longer the pull factors at IFFI, where even personalities are in the spotlight for their work, values, experiences and insights, and not for their appearance or attire.