About the Author: Ruth Bennett serves as an Editor and Community Manager at DipNote.
This past week began with a Trilateral Ministerial for the United States, Japan, and Republic of Korea to discuss recent developments on the Korean Peninsula as well as other regional and global issues. Later in the week, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks at the Brookings Institution on progress towards peace in the Middle East. Chief START Negotiator Rose Gottemoeller, and Dr. Jim Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, also at the Brookings Institution, spoke about how the New START Treaty enhances U.S. national security.
In Pakistan, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad renewed a partnership with International Islamic University that will ensure that programs and people-to-people connections continue to flourish for tens of thousands of students. Likewise, this week's "Photo of the Week" shows Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale in Indonesia for the launch of "@america," the United States' first high-tech outreach center. And U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner took outreach to the literal ends of the earth in his visit to Antarctica to survey U.S.-New Zealand scientific programs.
In Afghanistan, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry joined Afghan officials and other international representatives for the Second National Conference on Water Resources Development and Management. This theme was in keeping with the second, and final, week of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico.
Speaking at COP-16 at the beginning of the week, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern briefed the press on the work carried out at the first part of the conference. Conference topics and discussions included a focus on building a clean energy future, assessing the threat to water resources, and improving food security and helping farmers in the face of climate change. Over the past several days, we've brought you dispatches from these discussions, including an assessment of carbon stocks in North America, of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and ways to reduce greenhouse gases and address climate change in the United States and throughout North America. The conference culminated in the Cancun Agreements, which Secretary Clinton welcomed as "meaningful progress in our global response to climate change" and "a balanced and significant step forward."
The end of this week also encompassed International Human Rights Day, on December 10th. Secretary Clinton commemorated the day by presenting the Eleanor Roosevelt Award to four American human rights defenders for their contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights both in the United States and abroad. The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala wrapped up the "16 Days" campaign with public outreach, an award to an NGO working to counter violence, and a timely reminder that women's rights are human rights. Finally, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer looked back at the moment, 62 years ago, when Eleanor Roosevelt addressed the UN General Assembly to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "The U.S. commitment to that message," Assistant Secretary Brimmer writes, "to advancing universal respect for human rights, remains unshakable."