Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Mary Beth D. Nikitin. September 1, 2016.

A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties that entered into force between 1963 and 1990 limit, but do not ban, such tests. In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear–Test–Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate, which rejected it in October 1999. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, “My administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” However, while the Administration has indicated it wants to begin a CTBT “education” campaign with a goal of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification, it has not pressed for a vote on the treaty and there were no hearings on it in the 111th, 112th, or 113th Congresses. There will be at least one hearing in the 114th Congress—a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the CTBT planned for September 7, 2016.

[PDF format, 77 pages, 1.21 MB].

Smart Peacekeeping: Toward Tech-Enabled UN Operations

Smart Peacekeeping: Toward Tech-Enabled UN Operations. International Peace Institute. A. Walter Dorn. July 11, 2016.

As the world’s technological revolution proceeds, the United Nations can benefit immensely from a plethora of technologies to assist its peace operations. The U.N. has adopted a strategy for technology and peacekeeping and is showing the will and the means to implement it. New concepts, such as “technology-contributing countries” and “participatory peacekeeping” through new information technology, can improve peace operations. New technologies can also help U.N. field workers “live, move, and work” more effectively and safely, creating the possibility of the “digital peacekeeper.” The report provides an overview of technological capabilities and how they are being used, explores progress to date and key challenges, and offers a set of practical recommendations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 36 pages, 1.38 MB].

Pacific Trade Deal Needs to Harmonize With Sustainable Development Goals

Pacific Trade Deal Needs to Harmonize With Sustainable Development Goals. YaleGlobal. Shuaihua Wallace Cheng. October 22, 2015.

Developed and poorer developing nations often struggle to agree on global initiatives. But two major deals have been announced: The 193 members of the United Nations approved global action on 17 Sustainable Development Goals to reduce poverty, and 12 nations concluded negotiations on the Transpacific Trade Partnership, the largest regional trade agreement in history. The trade agreement supports the sustainable development goals in some ways and undermines them in others, explains Cheng. The world needs global leadership on trade that promotes sustainability and the United States could be in the position to provide such leadership, notes Cheng. The next chance is December’s World Trade Organization ministerial meeting at which the United States could encourage trade practices that promote freedom and fairness while reducing poverty. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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What Counts: Tools to Help Define and Understand Progress Towards the $100 Billion Climate Finance Commitment

What Counts: Tools to Help Define and Understand Progress Towards the $100 Billion Climate Finance Commitment. World Resources Institute. Pual Bodnar et al. September 2015.

As Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) design a post-2020 climate agreement and establish their national contributions within it, the question of progress toward existing climate finance targets has become a sticking point. While mobilizing $100 billion will not meet the climate investment challenge by itself, the goal is currently the primary political benchmark for assessing progress on climate finance. The paper aims to present the key variables Parties have emphasized in debates about “what counts”, and then propose an approach to classifying climate finance that Parties could use as a starting point for their analyses and interpretations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 1.4 MB].

North Korea’s New Tactic: Discredit Those Who Report Human-Rights Abuses

North Korea’s New Tactic: Discredit Those Who Report Human-Rights Abuses. YaleGlobal. Steven Borowiec. March 24, 2015.

In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council established the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, mandating an investigation of violations including the right to food; torture and inhuman treatment inside prison camps; severe limits on freedom of expression, the right to life, freedom of movement; and enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals from other nations. North Korean escapees relay the most horrific details about life in the dismal and impoverished place. The commission issued a scathing report less than a year later, and officials in secretive, isolated nation quickly adjusted strategies for responses, reports Borowiec. Rather than issue blanket denials as in the past, North Korean officials instead target and discredit escapees, the main source of reports. [Note: contains copyrighted material].[HTML format, varios paging].

Clouds Over Charities for Refugees in Islamic Countries

Clouds Over Charities for Refugees in Islamic Countries. YaleGlobal. Susan Froetschel. December 18, 2014.

The world has 50 million displaced people, and refugees have little choice but to depend on other countries and their citizens for generosity. Faith-based charities are often among the first to respond to humanitarian crises, notes the UN Refugee Agency, and Islamic faith-based charities are active in Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey – lead host nations for refugees. Fundraising by Muslim charities could be compromised as governments try to block financing mechanisms for extremist groups like the Islamic State, including jihadists posing as charitable groups. Governments, however, don’t agree on which groups should be banned. The UAE placed Britain’s largest Muslim charity, one that works closely with governments and the United Nations, on a list of banned groups. Aid groups engaging in discrimination, waste or criminal activity erode donor confidence. Unfounded accusations can ruin reputations and discourage generosity, too. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Integrating Migration into the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda

Integrating Migration into the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda. Migration Policy Institute. Lars Johan Lonnback. September 2014.

The Member States of the United Nations must negotiate a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will frame a new international development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire in 2015. The issue brief examines how migration can be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda, outlining proposed migration targets and elements for indicators within the SDGs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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