UN

By José Antonio Meade Kuribreña

It is mind-blowing that in the 21st century, sexual violence is still used as a tactic of war. Every year, thousands of people become victims of this heinous practice. Ninety-eight per cent of them are women and girls who are sexually abused in a spree of revenge or terror against civilian populations embedded in an armed conflict. Added to the profound pain and trauma caused to the victims, the worst part of this reality is that most cases go unpunished. This is unacceptable and we cannot continue to bear new atrocities. 

South Korea’s pride got a boost last year when it was chosen to host the UN’s Green Climate Fund, aimed at channeling billions of dollars to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change. But the challenges facing the fund loomed large on Wednesday at its star-studded launch in the new business zone of Songdo, near Seoul.

 

A trader gestures in front of the electronic display at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in Manila on June 18, 2012.It is hardly surprising to see mixed economic views of a country or region. But these days, Asia has become a forecasters’ chop-suey of tasty and unpalatable tidbits.

While it boasts growing internal markets, strong capital inflows and still-impressive annual growth among some economies, the region remains vulnerable to global slowdowns, the whims of western central banks, natural disasters and inadequate regional co-operation. Among the growing stream of mixed messages on the region’s trajectory came the United Nations Economic and Social commission for Asia and the Pacific, launched on Friday in Bangkok. 

A surge of remittances during the global financial crisis has helped to support the economies of some of the world’s least developed countries.

But a report published on Monday has underlined the high price such LDCs – including many poor countries in Africa – are paying for these transfers from migrants working abroad – a crippling “brain drain”. 

So farewell, then, Ban Ki Moon, the first UN Secretary General to visit Kosovo since its declaration of independence in 2008.

The Korean’s breezy visit leaves Kosovo still struggling with its two biggest problems: its current state of limbo regarding sovereignty, and, rather more pressingly for many Kosovans, the chronic lack of jobs. 

Ban Ki Moon’s visit to Kosovo on Tuesday is the first by a UN Secretary General since the statelet declared its disputed independence in 2007. The visit has been controversial and seems highly unlikely to bring any rapid resolution of the issue of Kosovo’s sovereignty. But it does at least remind the world that the country and its serious problems exist. 

When the UN climate talks resume next week in Durban, South Africa, all eyes will be on China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter and second-largest economy.

But as negotiators try to hammer out an agreement, they may be banging heads together for little reward – because China has already decided exactly what it is going to do.