UN Chronicle

A news reference publication published by the United Nations. Reports on UN actions and events as it addresses world issues.

Articles from Vol. 40, No. 4, December

Afghanistan One Year Later: The General Assembly Debates the Country's Reconstruction
Afghanistan received considerable attention during the 2002 General Assembly debate. A year later, with its reconstruction well under way, delegates continued to show concern for its future. Jan Petersen, Foreign Minister of Norway, said because the...
An Unquestionably Positive Step Forward: Distance Education
The idea that teaching and learning can successfully take place through electronic communication between teachers and students who are widely separated by space and time is a concept that has inspired both hope and dismay, as well as excitement and...
'At Current Rate of Progress, None of the Agreed Targets Will Be Met'; the General Assembly Debates HIV/AIDS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan addressed the General Assembly's high-level meeting on 22 September 2003 with sobering news. In 2001, the Declaration of Commitment that set concrete goals for containing the spread of HIV/AIDS and aiding its victims was...
Beginnings, End and New Beginnings: As Part of the Restructuring of the UN Department of Public Information, the Nine UN Information Centres (UNICs) in Western Europe Have Been Consolidated into One Regional Hub in Brussels
I never expected to live long enough to have both started the first United Nations information office in London--or anywhere in the world--and today to be present at the demise of the centre after more than half a century What a sad and most regrettable...
Bridging the Gender Gap: Women in the Information Society
Many countries have experienced rapid changes in the information and telecommunication sectors. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been rapidly introduced to the world in what many call the ICT revolution, and this could play a...
Building Bridges, Virtually
Global communication began barely a hundred years ago when Rudyard Kipling was inspired by the laying of undersea telegraph lines to write in his poem, "The Deep-Sea Cables": "A new word runs between: whispering, 'let us be one!'" Mired in the sloughs...
Challenges Ahead for Latin America and the Caribbean
The growing HIV/AIDS crisis is silently reaching alarming proportions in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting almost 2 million lives. In June 2003, during the follow-up meeting to the 2001 UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, the General Assembly...
Closing the Digital Divide: What the United Nations Can Do
The World Summit on the Information Society is an excellent venue to translate the following ideas into practical reality. Basic needs. The United Nations must continue its efforts to provide developing nations with immunizations, health care, clean...
Connecting the UN, NGOs and the World: 46 Countries Join UN Webcast
As 2,000 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 100 countries met for the 56th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, hundreds of people also "attended" via a UN webcast, while computer science students in Chicago, Illinois monitored the...
Consumer Society and Social Justice
"Policy change" and "sustainable development" were the buzz words that emerged from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To further understand these terms, we need to examine closely the precise...
Digital Divide into Digital Opportunities: E-Learning in the Developing Countries
The modern world is undergoing a fundamental transformation as the industrial society of the twentieth century rapidly gives way to the information society of the twenty-first century. This dynamic process promises a fundamental change in all aspects...
Environmental Implications of Microchips: Globe Glance
Whether we call it the information technology (IT) revolution, the knowledge society or the digital age, the phenomenon remains the same. Societies around the world are undergoing real change under the adoption of computer and communications technologies....
Essay: Languages as Historical Archives: Implications for Agriculture and Development
In the eighteenth century, the British New World colony of South Carolina prospered from the raising and exporting of rice. What does this have to do with linguistics, agriculture and development in the modern day? The answer is a salutary warning...
Hunger Looms Large UN Says on World AIDS Day
The importance of battling stigma and discrimination was a focus this year of World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December. A commemoration at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City, under the theme "Live and Let Live", highlighted one of the...
Marginalization of Women in the Media: What the United Nations Should Do
The media, as an important agent of socialization in the modern world, either support or contest cultural conceptions, and have a significant impact on the social construction of gender. The media's effects operate at the level of gender belief systems,...
New Initiatives to Combat Chronic Diseases
UN "3 x 5" Plan Launched Treating 3 Million HIV-infected by 2005 In a step towards providing universal access to AIDS treatment to all who need it, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released...
Opening the First Door to the UN
The International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, proclaimed in 1994 by the United Nations General Assembly, will end in 2004. Its aim, which is to strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people...
Peacekeepers' Day in Canada
Nearly fifty years ago, Lester B. Pearson, Canada's leading diplomat and later its Prime Minister, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his epochal plan to send troops from UN Member States to get between warring factions in international trouble spots The...
Powerful Enough to Bring Justice: Setting Up the Special Court for Sierra Leone
War in Sierra Leone broke out in 1992 and ended with an uneasy peace in 2002. Over that terrible decade, some 75,000 civilians are believed to have been killed and half a million made refugees. Atrocities, in some respects unique in their grotesquery,...
Project 1 Billion: Health Ministers of Post-Conflict Nations Act on Mental Health Recovery
It is estimated that more than one billion persons in nearly every region in the world have been affected by mass violence, embodied in the experience of war, ethnic conflict, torture and terrorism. Conflict has led to the forced displacement of approximately...
'Psychological First Aid': Education Is Essential in Post-Conflict Situations
Speaking to the 2,000 participants of the 56th Annual DPI/NGO Conference in New York, Nila Kapor-Stanulovic addressed the psychological aspects of human security and dignity. She experienced first-hand the effects of multiple armed conflicts in the...
Reflecting on the World Summit: Plain Truths about 'Know-Ware' Land
The World Summit on the Information Society is of crucial importance. Summits allow for elevated and, therefore, broader vision. The slopes of the mountain and the vast expanses of surrounding plains may readily be viewed as a big picture. Summiteers...
Rwanda Promotes Women Decision-Makers
The Women Waging for Peace Policy Commission analyzes women's contributions to reconstruction processes through case studies of post-conflict societies. In its first report, "Strengthening Governance: The Role of Women in Rwanda's Transition", published...
Setback in the War against Hunger
Hunger is on the rise again after falling steadily during the first half of the 1990s, states the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in its annual report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003 (SOFI 2003). Its latest estimates...
Slums and Housing in Africa: The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003 Published by Earthscan Publications Ltd., for and on Behalf of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
If you think that Africa's problems are mainly rural, think again. According to a UN-Habitat publication launched on World Habitat Day (6 October), sub-Saharan Africa hosts the largest proportion of the urban population residing in slums (71.9 percent);...
'Straight Talk' by Youth
Children are our most valuable resource; agreement on this assertion is virtually universal. Adults around the world create policies and manage public affairs with children in mind. But how are we doing? Ask the young people. In Shkodra, Albania,...
Taking Gender into Account: Women in the Information Society
Historically, women have been left behind in the access to new opportunities and are second-class citizens in the process of empowerment brought by the digital era. The new information and communication technologies (ICTs), which could offer equal...
The Blind Innovate for Information Technology: A Vision of Universal Access
A group of blind volunteers in Ethiopia are working hard to transfer adaptive technology to their developing nation The idea was first proposed by Tamru E. Belay, a blind Ethiopian-born Canadian and qualified adaptive technologist, who recently returned...
The Chronicle Interview
On WSIS The World Summit on the Information Society is the first of a new generation of summits organized by the United Nations. WSIS has a new and unique architecture: it is an intergovernmental process open to the participation of civil society,...
The Imperiled Past: Appreciating Our Cultural Heritage
In the turmoil following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, a few days were enough for Iraqi looters to ravage 7,000 years of human history. Despite the warnings of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) experts...
The Importance of Small and Medium Enterprises
Transition in Central and Eastern Europe ended constraints to economic freedom and was widely expected to create large numbers of competitive small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to a study--small and Medium Enterprises in Transitional...
The International Year of Rice
The United Nations on 31 October 2003 proclaimed 2004 as the International Year of Rice (IYR). The purpose of the Year is to raise public awareness of a crop that is essential for the sustainability of several poor nations. The General Assembly aims...
The Internet Remains a Mystery to Most People: UNconventional: A Point of View
The sustainable development of efficient and accessible postal services plays an important role in helping to bridge the digital and information divide that currently exists worldwide. With 161 of its 189 members considered by the United Nations as...
The United Nations at a 'Fork in the Road': The 58th General Assembly High-Level Debate
At the commencement of the fifty-eighth General Assembly session's high-level debate, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told representatives of the 191 Member States that the United Nations had come to a "fork in the road", stressing that when States "act...
'The Whole World Knew but Did Nothing'
Jacqueline Murekatete, an 18-year-old student in New York City, fled her home country, Rwanda, following the ethnic conflict that claimed most of her family. While at the Fifth Youth Leadership meeting, held at New York University from 20 to 27 July...
Threats to Quit WTO 'Somewhat Empty': Ricupero's Reflections on World Trading Environment
Not too long ago, in September 2003, in the resort town of Cancun, Mexico, the world's trade ministers gathered to chart the future of international trade relations within the 148-member World Trade Organization (WTO). But the meeting fell through...
Trade Concerns at the Centre of Debate: The General Assembly Addresses the Millennium Development Goals
Delegates from around the world and especially developing countries stressed the reduction of suffering and poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the 2003 debate in the General Assembly. At the Millennium Summit...
Trade Routes for Landlocked Countries
Nine of the twelve countries ranked lowest on the 2002 Human Development Index are landlocked. Although landlocked developing countries represent 12.5 per cent of the world's land area and 4 per cent of the global population, their combined gross domestic...
Trade Statistics as a Road Map to Trade Policy
Rapidly increasing globalization makes the well-being of countries more and more dependent on their position in a network of international trade. To move towards a better place, national policy makers need to have a good "road map", whereby countries...
"We Are Each Others' Keeper': The General Assembly Debates Global Warming
Saint Lucia, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of 162,000, is home to Julian Hunte, President of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly. Like that country, small island developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable...
'We Are Embarked on an Endeavour That Transcends Technology': From Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Statement to the World Summit on the Information Society on 10 December 2003
I would like to thank the Government of Switzerland for the extraordinary support it has provided for this Summit--not just the warm hospitality and the typical Swiss efficiency, but also the steadfast political commitment to making this Summit a success....
Wings of Change in International Air Transport
As a global even if not globalized--industry, airlines, along with their airport and air navigation service partners, are presently being buffeted by economic malaise and the debilitating impact of recent international events. It was at the out set...