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. 34, No. 2, Summer

1996: Warmest Year since 1860
The year 1996 was the warmest on record since 1860 and the consecutive year with positive global temperature anomalies, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported on 30 April, in its annual statement on the status of the global climate. The...
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300 Million Will Have Impaired Vision in 2020
Experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) have warned that within the next quarter of a century blindness and serious visual disability - already a public health problem - will become a major socio-economic burden worldwide and may even thwart progress...
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Afghanistan
The Security Council on 16 April, in expressing its grave concern at the continued fighting in Afghanistan and its intensification in recent months, called upon the Afghan parties to cease immediately all hostile actions and to enter into sustained negotiations....
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'Agreed Conclusions on Employment.' (Agreement Adopted during the UN Commission for Social Development's 35th Session)
The agreed conclusions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods, adopted at the thirty-fifth session of the Commission for Social Development, are meant to provide input to the high-level segment of the 1997 substantive session of the Economic...
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Amphetamines Likely to Be Major Problem of Next Century
After witnessing a worldwide three-fold increase in the number of countries reporting rising abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants over the past 10 years and a ten-fold increase in seizures between 1978 and 1994, a United Nations meeting in Shanghai,...
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... and What It Does Not
A Number of issues have not been adequately addressed in the Agreement. These include those relating to government subsidies and non-selective gear. * Government subsidies. In the negotiations, most Governments felt that setting quotas for fishing...
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A Process of Negotiation
In this companion piece to his "Essay", Professor Koh looks back to the debates, deliberations and discussions that culminated in the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. In order to prepare for the Earth Summit, the...
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Biological Diversity
"If people want to live in a world that is more than pigeons, rats, cockroaches and starlings, we need to do more than set aside land We have to protect endangered species before they are destroyed." Carter Roberts, Vice President of the Nature Conservancy...
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Burundi
Security Council President Park Soo Gil of the Republic of Korea told the press on 14 May that Council members were concerned at the acts of violence committed in Burundi by armed elements against the civilian population and at the policy of forced resettlement...
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CBD: What the Convention Says
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992 and became legally binding on 29 December 1993. As of 3 December 1996, 165 countries, including...
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CSD - Steps in Sun and Shade
Talks to decide the outcome of the June United Nations special session to review action since the Earth Summit in Rio concluded with some progress on economic, social and environmental issues, but there were many unresolved differences, especially on...
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
Marking the end of a successful seven-month military campaign to take control of Africa's third largest country and to oust its President Mobutu Sese Seko, who had ruled Zaire since taking power after a military coup in 1965, the head of the Alliance...
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Development and Environment: From Stockholm to Rio
A comparison of the action plans adopted by the Stockholm and Rio Conferences illustrates a major shift in our understanding of, and approach to, the problems of long-term human development, says the report of the Secretary-General on "Global change...
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Employment, Age and Disabilities Form Focus of Discussions
Sustained economic growth was necessary but not sufficient for generating employment over time, the Chairman of the Commission for Social Development, Ion Gorita of Romania, stressed, as the Commission concluded its thirty-fifth session (New York, 25...
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Five Years after Rio: Some Personal Reflections
The United Nations is holding a special session in June this year to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), held in Rio de Janeiro. In March 1990, I was elected to chair the Preparatory...
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Former Yugoslavia
Although the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina was "not without problems", it was proceeding "fairly well", High Representative Carl Bildt told the press at Headquarters on 1 May. Major challenges ahead included the local elections scheduled for...
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From the Secretary-General
"Reliable markets and real prosperity must depend upon the long-term viability of democratic institutions and the rule of law in all developing countries", says Mr. Kofi Annan in these excerpts from the Sorensen Distinguished Lecture on the United Nations,...
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'Gender Perspectives' Emphasized
Aloisia Woergetter of Austria, Chairperson of the Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, announced on 21 March that the Working Group...
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Georgia
The Security Council on 8 May called upon the parties to the conflict in Georgia, particularly the Abkhaz side, to "intensify the search for a peaceful solution by further expanding their contacts", and asked the Secretary-General to "make available...
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Global Warming
Since its adoption five years ago at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been the centrepiece of global efforts to combat global warming. It also has been one of the international community's...
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High Seas Fishing
In the decade following the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fishing on the high seas became a major international problem. The Convention gave all States the freedom to fish without regulations on the high seas,...
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Iraq
The accumulated effect of the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraqi disarmament over the six years since the ceasefire between Iraq and the Coalition went into effect "is such that not much is unknown about Iraq's retained proscribed...
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Land Degradation
One quarter of the earth's land is threatened by desertification, according to estimates by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The livelihoods of over 1 billion people in more than 100 countries are also jeopardized by desertification,...
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Middle East
The General Assembly on 25 April - in condemning Israel's construction of a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim to the south of occupied East Jerusalem and "all other illegal Israeli activities in all the occupied territories" - demanded immediate and...
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Ministers Call for Stronger, Revitalized UNEP
The nineteenth session (Nairobi, 27 January-7 February) of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), attended by ministers and high-level government representatives from over 100 countries, produced a strong ministerial...
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Reconstruction in Rwanda
Shahryar M. Khan recalls Rwanda at the time of UNAMIR, in a conversation with Xi Pei First of all, please imagine a country which has been completely devastated. There was no electricity, no water, no medicare, no communications, no telephones, no government,...
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Rionewal: Taking Stock
In a world in which life so perfectly responds to life, where flowers mingle with flowers in the wind's eye, where the swan is the familiar of all swans, man alone builds his isolation. - Antoine de Saint Exupery "Wind, Sand and Stars" The environment...
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Rwanda
Security Council members were concerned over the deterioration of prison conditions, lack of proper legal protection, and the poor judicial system in Rwanda, and they called on the Government to improve the situation, Council President Park Soo Gil of...
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The Chronicle Interview
First off, what is the Committee for Development Planning [CDP], which was only recently reconvened after some uncertainty as to its future? The CDP is the only non-governmental expert body in the United Nations system, as distinguished from other UN...
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The Earth in Balance
The historical pendulum swings between serious alarm and indifference on the state of the world's natural environment, and between hope and despair in the condition of the inhabitants on our planet. The lessons which our review may teach us is that we...
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The Global Environment Outlook: Regional Perspectives
North America * By 1992, United States farmers had reduced soil erosion from cropland by about 1 billion tonnes a year compared to 1982 levels. * Canada and the United States are the world's two largest exporters of forest products. * In 1996...
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The IPCC
To give policy makers and the general public a better understanding of what researchers had learned, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in...
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The Planet's Players
Both climate change and policies to minimize its effects have enormous environmental and economic implications. The costs of climate change will vary widely from country to country. Developed countries are responsible for over two thirds of past emissions...
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The Spirit of Rio
Since the Earth Summit in 1992, tile "Spirit of Rio" lives on through the actions of Governments, international organizations, major groups, and individuals around the world. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) can justifiably be called...
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Tighter Controls on Synthetic Stimulants Urged
Groundwork for 1998 General Assembly Session Admitting that the battle with drug traffickers was far from won, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs ended its fortieth session (Vienna, 18-27 March) with a call for concerted international commitment to a...
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UN Peacekeeping: Some Questions and Answers
United Nations peacekeepers, wearing distinctive UN blue helmets or berets, are dispatched by the Security Council to help implement peace agreements, monitor ceasefires, patrol demilitarized zones, create buffer zones between opposing forces, and put...
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Water: Is There Hope?
The world's supply of clean, fresh water, already threatened by growing levels of pollution, is growing so scarce in some areas that if current trends continue, two thirds of humanity will suffer "moderate to severe water stress" within 30 years, according...
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Western Sahara
In extending the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 September 1997, the Security Council on 22 May urged the two parties - the Moroccan Government and the Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra...
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What's Being Done
Africa: Algeria has carried out research on desertification trends using satellite imagery, has held a national awareness workshop and plans to develop Government/non-government organization (NGO) partnerships. Botswana's National Action Programme...
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What the Agreement Does
The Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks was opened for signing on 4 December...
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What the UN System Is Doing
Recent studies carried out by various United Nations agencies indicated that, in recent times, national hydrological services and agencies, particularly - but not only - in developing countries, were becoming less capable of assessing their respective...
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Within Grasp?
It is increasingly recognized that biodiversity is central to sustainable development and to Agenda 21 - the programme of action for sustainable development adopted at UNCED. The Convention cuts across many vital economic and environment issues, from...
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World Conference on Racism Recommended
The Commission on Human Rights has recommended that the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly authorize the holding, no later than 2001, of a World Conference on Racism and Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In...
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