About the Author: Ruth Bennett serves as an Editor and Community Manager at DipNote.
This past week, we continued our coverage of the UN General Assembly in New York. The United States applauded the UN Human Rights Council's creation of the first-ever Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association; Secretary Clinton spoke about ways to counter threats to international peace and security; and Assistant Secretary Brimmer reflected on the importance of multilateral engagement more generally. Several people provided us with helpful summaries of the spectacularly busy schedule of UN meetings and discussions: Major General (Ret) Scott Gration wrapped up coverage of Sudan for us; the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation discussed development policy; and several Assistant Secretaries provided press readouts summarizing developments in specific areas of the world and offering their thoughts.
Although -- as you can see -- UNGA's scope is truly global, there was a special emphasis on global development this year, and on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in particular. On September 28, we watched a discussion of the first-ever Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and we followed up with an in-depth look at one important aspect of development: food security. Ambassador Cousin, from the United Nations Agencies in Rome, explored food security in Bangladesh and wrote about the programs that are succeeding there. Our Photo of the Week came from her trip, and gave us a literal boatload of reasons to care about ensuring the world's food supply.
Our initial coverage of UNGA and the MDGs last month included this argument from Ambassador Verveer that women's equality (MDG #3) is key to meeting the other Millennium goals. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting this week took up a similar theme, focusing on the regional and global economic progress that could come from women's increased economic empowerment. The reasons for women's economic under-participation are complex, and solving the problem isn't straightforward. Ambassador Verveer addressed one aspect of the problem -- with an emphasis on a solution that's working well in India -- in her entry “Mobilizing Communities to Address Gender-Based Violence.” We asked for your input on the topic in our Question of the Week.
In Pakistan, 1,900 students graduated from U.S.-funded “employability” training, and, in The Bahamas, “Eunice Kennedy Shriver” Day reminded us that we can all make a difference in our communities. Our colleagues at Africom sought to do just that by providing 10,000 Ugandan students backpacks, helping to make homework -- or, at least, carrying it -- a little easier.
Back in Washington after the end of high-level UNGA sessions, Secretary Clinton spoke at a historical conference on Southeast Asia (additional reflections on the conference are here). She met with EU High Representative Lady Ashton and -- on the eve of the 20th anniversary of German Unification -- with German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Westerwelle. In a blog entry DipNote readers told us they particularly welcomed, Secretary Clinton also spoke about President Obama's Executive Order imposing sanctions on Iranian officials who are responsible for, or complicit in, serious human rights abuses. Assistant Secretary Yun testified on the Hill about Cambodia's debt; the U.S. Embassy in Quito provided an update on the situation in Ecuador. We noted the 18th anniversary of the Senate's approval of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the 300 days since its expiration. Far from past tensions over arms control, the paintings of William James Glackens -- our current ART in EMBASSIES offering -- brought the week to a close with a soothing vision of tranquility.