Mali’s interim leaders have secured two major votes of confidence in less than a month: the approval of a United Nations peace force and global pledges of $4.2 billion (€3.5 billion) in development aid. Yet they now face the daunting challenge of delivering on promises to tackle the poverty and inequality that have fuelled the nation’s unrest.
What brings together individuals and organizations such as Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student shot by the Taliban for her outspoken support of girls’ education, front-line polio workers, the global action campaign 10x10, and GE Africa? The answer: courage and a determination to work for a better world. The four will also come together in New York City to be honored at the 2013 Global Leadership Awards Dinner in New York City this November.
At a recent event hosted by the U.S. State Department titled “The Next Level of Diplomacy: Youth and Global Engagement,” the discussion revolved around the promise and peril of the world’s burgeoning youth population. In particular, the panel of Farah Pandith, the department’s special representative to Muslim communities, Zeenat Rahman, special adviser on global youth issues, and Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, focused on the urgent need to engage young people in global affairs.
Rescuers and salvage workers have concluded a frantic search for victims in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza, an eight-story garment factory complex that collapsed on April 24, killing an estimated 1,127 people. Sadly, there will be no more miraculous stories of survival like that of Reshma Begum, the 19-year-old seamstress who was pulled from the rubble 17 days after the collapse. Instead, the United Nations and leading experts like Muhammad Yunus are urging the international community to address this catastrophe’s underlying causes.
UNICEF is planning a “high-level road map” assessment of the education system in Libya that will improve teaching methods and ultimately bring a higher standard of education to schools, according to an announcement made by the organization in early April.
Last summer, after walking for days to a refugee camp across the South Sudan border, some Sudanese refugees reportedly chose to dig holes to reach muddy water rather than face the fist-fights breaking out around a failing tap. Boreholes dug by aid agencies collapsed in the crumbling soil. Even the coming rainy season brought more challenges than relief, washing out roads used by water tanker trucks and threatening the camp with flooding.
Early on the morning of March 9, a 15-car United Nations convoy was making one of its usual runs through South Sudan’s Jonglei. This northeastern state, which covers over 47,300 square miles, has been riven by conflict long before the country’s independence in 2011. Convoys from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) frequently patrol the area, offering protection to civilians and workers from other humanitarian groups.
United Nations officials, civil society groups and worldwide media coverage hailed last month’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for taking a significant step forward in the campaign to end gender-based violence. The outcome document from the 57th CSW—supported by UN Women—included substantial agreements regarding the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, including the need to guarantee women’s reproductive rights and access to health services.
Earlier this month, six world powers met with Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program. The talks with the “P5+1” of the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany were the latest in a series of negotiations that have taken place over the last few months. The talks did not result in a major breakthrough, but neither was there a breakdown. Meanwhile, bipartisan support is building in Washington for a new approach to break the stalemate.