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18 november 2020

— The United Nations General Assembly has concluded its debate on Security Council reform, with delegates “calling for limits on the use of the veto by its permanent members and improved geographical distribution, particularly for Africa, on the 15‑member organ tasked with upholding international peace and security.” Namibian Ambassador to the UN Neville Melvin Gertze said, “It is time that the reform process addresses the obstacles caused by the imbalance resulting from the determination by some to preserve their entrenched self‑interests.” Senegal Ambassador to the UN Cheikh Niang “emphasized that Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat, yet it accounts for most of the issues on the Council’s agenda.”

— 1 for 7 Billion, a “a global campaign supported by organisations and individuals from all corners of the globe committed to getting the best UN Secretary-General,” said this week that “while awaiting a statement from Antonio Guterres on his availability to serve a second term as UN Secretary-General, urgent proactive steps can and should be taken to ensure that the upcoming selection process positively reinforces the hard-won gains of 2016. … Without a transparent, inclusive process, this selection (or ‘reselection,’ as the case may be) will be seen as failing to consolidate previous gains and would be considered a major backwards step.”

— Association of World Citizens President René Wadlow writes that the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region “has raised fears of a wider conflict. Hundreds of people have already been killed; and the United Nations has warned of a massive refugee flow. … We have seen the violence that grew out of the same issues in the former Yugoslavia, and in the breakup of the former Soviet Union. At this stage, we must support the call of the U.N. Secretary-General for a ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith.”

— Charles Shey Wiysonge of the South African Medical Research Council writes in a piece republished at UN Dispatch that the eradication of polio in Africa, as certified by the World Health Organization in August, “directly combated a severe debilitating disease. But it also provided a platform for broader healthcare services on the continent. … Within national governments in Africa, public service departments worked across portfolio boundaries, formally and informally, to achieve the shared goal of polio eradication. All these efforts culminated, 14 years later, in the certification of the eradication of polio from Africa. … Polio’s legacy must be built on to achieve other major health goals.”

— The Mondialist looks ahead to World Interfaith Harmony Week in early February, writing that “since the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the possibilities for normal meetings, it will be necessary to be creative in how to convey the messages of harmony in an effective and meaningful way. … Our small group of Mondialists wants to participate in the interreligious World Week in 2021 with a special campaign,” with details to follow.

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