In the News

Do IMF appointments hint at a change in direction? - July 13

July 13, 2011

Christine Lagarde, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has announced her first senior appointments since taking over at the beginning of this month.

In addition to nominating David Lipton, a US national, to replace John Lipsky as first deputy manager director, she has selected Zhu Min, currently special adviser to the managing director, to fill a new deputy managing director position. ...

Click here to read the full article at BBC News.

Lagarde takes the helm, but should the IMF change its course? - July 13

July 13, 2011 
"I take this job with great pride, great humility as well, and some trepidation," Christine Lagarde said at a press conference on July 6, the day after taking over as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She can be forgiven the trepidation given that her appointment comes at a time when the eurozone sovereign debt crisis shows no sign of abating. Indeed, it has worsened, with finance ministers unable to reach a deal on the details of a second €110bn rescue package for Greece, fears growing about contagion spreading to the single currency area's third largest economy Italy – surely too big to bail out – and the decisions by the rating agency Moody's to slash Irish and Portuguese bonds to junk status.

Germany shops for UN seat, business in Africa visit - July 13

July 13, 2011 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Kenya as part a three-nation tour of Africa reaffirms a changing world order towards bilateral ties based on equal partnership, analysts said.

With China already making inroads in Africa’s key sectors through its open-to-all policy, other economic power houses are taking note with Germany and its European Union partners keen not to be left out. ...

Click here to read the full article at the Business Daily [Kenya].

From Nigeria to the World Bank--and now back - July 12

July 12, 2011 

It's a mildly hopeful sign that World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is giving up her post to serve as Nigerian finance minister in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. She joins a government that many see as the best opportunity in years to turn around that country's fortunes. Reuters had this description:
Passionate about promoting Africa as an investment destination and widely-respected for her practical approach to development, Okonjo-Iweala stands out in a cabinet largely made up of familiar faces and anonymous technocrats. She was praised the last time she served as finance minister, from 2003 to 2006, for fighting corruption, boosting transparency, and negotiating the cancellation of nearly two-thirds of Nigeria's $30 billion Paris Club debt. ...

Click here to read the full blog post at Foreign Policy's The Multilateralist.  

Elections done right: The FAO - July 10

July 10, 2011 

June was a busy month for multilateral elections. Within seven days of each other, the following individuals were elected as the head of a major multilateral organization:

  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was re-elected to a second five-year term (June 21),
  • French finance minister Christine Lagarde was chosen as the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (June 28),
  • Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser was selected as President of the UN General Assembly’s 67th session (June 22), and
  • Jose Graziano da Silva was elected as the new Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (June 26).

This last one, however, could not have been more different from the others. ...

Baird to announce boycott of UN conference over North Korea appointment - July 10

July 10, 2011

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was last week named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament.“

North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body as its leaders are working in the exact opposite direction,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening. ...

Click here to read the full article at the National Post. 

Armenians Must Counter UN Security Council Bids by Turkey and Azerbaijan - July 8

July 8, 2011
Diasporan political organizations and influential Armenians, in cooperation with the Armenian Foreign Ministry, should launch an international lobbying campaign to block Turkey and Azerbaijan from gaining coveted seats on the United Nations Security Council.
Three years ago, I made a similar plea when Turkey was seeking a seat on the Security Council for the first time since 1961. I urged Armenians worldwide to contact government leaders of their respective countries, requesting that their UN representatives oppose Turkey’s Security Council bid.

Why Did Iran Say "NO" to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights? - July 5

July 5, 2011

Less than a week after the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran, Head of Iran's Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, in a TV interview said, "accepting the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights is not our policy."

In March, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution establishing a monitoring mechanism for Iran and appointing a Special Rapporteur. Last month, three candidates were considered for this position. The Iranian side, knowing that a Special Rapporteur would be immediately appointed soon, sent a message to Geneva that the Rapporteur on Iran should have three qualifications: Be a man, be a Muslim, and not be from an Arab country. One of the male candidates didn't seem to cause any controversy for Tehran; Ahmed Shaheed's appointment met all of Iran's requirements. ...

Open letter to the new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran - July 2

July 2, 2011 

Dear Dr. Shaheed,

We the undersigned, members of Iranian academics, journalists, writers, lawyers, artists and human rights activists, welcome your appointment as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran. The systematic violations of human rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran and atrocities committed against the members of the opposition have reached an unprecedented level. The arbitrary arrests of women activists, lawyers, journalists, students, labour leaders, and human rights advocates are on the rise. The continuous hunger strikes, attempted suicides and mysterious death of prisoners in custody, and executions are indeed alarming. ...

Canada's love-hate take on North Korea reveals UN circus - July 1

July 1, 2011

What's a North Korean apparatchik to think when he's both welcomed and told to quit by Canada after assuming the presidency of a key United Nation s disarmament body?

The naming of North Korea's Ambassador So Se Pyong as chair of the UN's Conference on Disarmament drew sharp criticism from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Thursday. ...

Click here to read the full article at the Montreal Gazette.

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