Member States urged to step up funding for UN peacebuilding initiatives
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its relentless global assault, the UN Secretary-General has urged countries not to let up on their support for peace efforts in conflict-affected countries.
António Guterres made the appeal in a message to the annual meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission held online on Monday.
“I call on every Member State to make a voluntary contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund, reflecting our mutual recognition that peacebuilding and sustaining peace are core mandates of our Organization, and are inseparable from sustainable development recovery, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in a video recorded for the event.
Preventing and averting crises
The Peacebuilding Commission was established in 2005 with the mandate to bring together all relevant sides to marshal resources and advise on integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding.
Through the Peacebuilding Fund, the UN responds to and prevents violent conflict by supporting governments and societies in at-risk countries.
For example, during the pandemic, Fund projects have supported the protection of female health personnel, women leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia. Women migrants from Venezuela, who are at greater risk of sexual and domestic violence during lockdowns, also received assistance.
“We know that prevention works, and that in addition to averting multiple associated crises, it can save lives and dramatically reduce human suffering,” Commission Chair Bob Rae told participants.
“We also know that it is cost-effective. As outlined in the UN-World Bank joint study Pathways for Peace, a system for preventing the outbreak of violence would save at a minimum close to $5 billion per year.”
The ‘persistent challenge’ of funding
While the Secretary-General underscored the Commission’s leadership in uniting various stakeholders, the meeting sought to address what he labelled the “persistent challenge” of ensuring predictable and adequate financing for peacebuilding efforts.
The Peacebuilding Fund is seeking $180 million for this year, and demands are outpacing resources.
“We need concrete action,” Mr. Guterres stated. “This remains more important than ever in the context of COVID-19, which has devastated communities and economies throughout the world, reversing development and peacebuilding gains and aggravating conflicts or fomenting new ones.”
Proposals to increase funding
The Secretary-General outlined ways to step-up funding.
In addition to his call for voluntary contributions from UN Member States, Mr. Guterres has previously proposed using funds from UN peacekeeping missions that are in the process of winding down.
This would see the equivalent of 15 per cent of a mission’s final full-year budget going to peacebuilding activities for two consecutive years following the end of its mandate.
“Programmatic funding to support mandated peacebuilding activities in peacekeeping settings is essential, especially to ensure their continuation following a mission’s closure,” he continued.
“And it remains critic al that we ensure a dedicated minimum of 15 per cent of all UN-managed funding in support of peacebuilding projects to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment – and that Member States contribute specifically in this area, where resources are scarce but the impact great.”
The UN chief also urged donors to “reverse a worrying trend” by committing to spend at least 20 percent of foreign aid on peacebuilding priorities in conflict settings.
He also praised recent action on expanding financing, including by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and pointed to the need for greater partnership with the private sector.
Confrontation between US and Chinese ships in South China Sea
A US Navy destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea and sparked yet another confrontation between the US and China for the second day in a row, informs London’s ‘The Independent’.
The first confrontation occurred when the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer sailed near the group of islands.
Next day the ship was spotted again in the vicinity of the islands, as part of a “freedom of navigation operation” challenging requirements from China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, that require advance notification or permission before a military vessel can pass through.
China said that the US’s actions violate its sovereignty and security and said its navy and air force had forced the American vessel away, something the US military has denied. Beijing also warned the US of “serious consequences”.
The latest incident comes as tensions between the US and China have plumetted to new lows.
“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant,” said US 7th Fleet spokesman Luka Bakic.
China’s Ministry of National Defense responded by accusing the US of “undermining the peace and stability of the South China Sea”.
“The act of the US military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security, severely breached international laws, and is more ironclad evidence of the US pursuing navigation hegemony and militarizing the South China Sea,” ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said.
He said China will take “all necessary measures” to ensure security, but did not elaborate further.
In recent years, China has become increasingly assertive in the region, prompting the US to push back.
The South China Sea is an important waterway for global trade, with around $5 trillion in trade passing through each year. Additionally, the area holds valuable fish stocks and undersea mineral resources.
Seymour Hersh: The cover-up
This is a new comment of American journalist Seymour Hersh: “It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new $11-billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany.
The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US.
Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.
Press aides for the White House and Central Intelligence Agency have consistently denied that America was responsible for exploding the pipelines, and those pro forma denials were more than enough for the White House press corps.
There is no evidence that any reporter assigned there has yet to ask the White House press secretary whether Biden had done what any serious leader would do: formally “task” the American intelligence community to conduct a deep investigation, with all of its assets, and find out just who had done the deed in the Baltic Sea.
According to a source within the intelligence community, the president has not done so, nor will he. Why not? Because he knows the answer.
In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events — a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations.
The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time.
There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government, but I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version for the destruction of Nord Stream 2.
In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was “to pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction…” stresses Seymour Hersh.
ABC news: Xi signals strength in Russia-China alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Moscow on Wednesday after two days of highly symbolic meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which the two presented a united front and an alternative vision for global leadership, notes ABCnews.
Despite statements saying that “China-Russia relations are not the kind of military-political alliance during the Cold War,” China and Russia made clear they wanted to “advance the trend toward a multi-polar world.”
“This highly publicized summit may reflect a shift towards a new and more active role for China, as it seizes the opportunity to convey diplomatic – and possibly tangible – support for Russia and any other state that wishes to defy the West,” – Michael Butler, associate professor of political science at Clark University, told ABC News.
Joint animosity towards the U.S.-led world order has kept Russia and China close despite Putin’s war in Ukraine and western sanctions against Russia has made China their biggest customer and economic lifeline.
Beijing increasingly sees Russia as necessary ally as China and United States continue to fallout over numerous fronts not limited to Taiwan and access to semiconductors. It was further exasperated by the spy balloon episode earlier this year.
Beijing had initially hoped that the spiraling tensions with the U.S. would abate in the wake of Xi’s meeting with President Joe Biden in Bali last November, but as they continued to crater, Xi seems to have re-prioritized Russian relationship. He even aimed a rare direct slight at the United States earlier this month, blaming the Americans for “containment and suppression” as the reasons for China’s economic challenges.
Xi highlighted on numerous occasions over the two days of meetings that Russia and China are each other’s largest neighbors and that their partnership is “consistent with historical logic and a strategic choice of China.”
Aurat March 2023 & Agenda Setting
In history, women are portrayed in default of men. The women in primitive societies were freer and more emancipated than...
Confrontation between US and Chinese ships in South China Sea
A US Navy destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea and sparked yet another confrontation...
Seymour Hersh: The cover-up
This is a new comment of American journalist Seymour Hersh: “It’s been six weeks since I published a report, based...
The dilemma of China’s role as Mediator in the case of Ukraine
Since the full-scale Russo-Ukrainian war unfolding after 24 February 2022, China has maintained so-called neutral stance on the conflict, passively...
China Gains Political Clout in the Middle East at the expense of the US’s Indispensability
There is yet another détente in the Middle East, but it is neither between Israel and Arabs nor has the...
Breaking Diplomatic Norms: Indian Response to OIC & Turkish Support for Kashmir Issue
Recently, the Indian government has been facing backlash for its highly undemocratic and derogatory remarks on Turkey’s support to the...
Playing The New Game of Geoeconomics
In these contemporary times, state actions are now rendered by the emergence of ‘Geo Economics’. Implying the term coined by...
Middle East3 days ago
Arab plan for Syria puts US and Europe in a bind
Economy3 days ago
Impact of technological advancements on International Trade and Finance
Finance3 days ago
Credit Suisse Collapse – this is a robbery of Arab investors
Middle East3 days ago
Iraq’s Geopolitics, Key Factor for US, EU Energy Security Strategies
South Asia4 days ago
India’s G20 Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities
Southeast Asia4 days ago
Indonesia: Climate Change Challenges
New Social Compact4 days ago
Dance and games offer glimpses of life – and death – in ancient Italy
Russia4 days ago
The Political and Diplomatic Implications of the ICC’s Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin