The Global Citizen
Yesterday, 43 international policy, humanitarian, and religious organizations sent a letter to the chair and ranking members of the House and Senate full appropriations and foreign operations sub-committees calling on them to support the $886,900,000 requested for United Nations and other peacekeeping accounts included in President Obama's FY 2009 Supplemental Funding request.
Currently, 65% of the world is in recession, an amount greater than at any time since 1960. The International Monetary Fund [IMF] recently stated that the downturn is likely to be “unusually severe and long-lasting.” The recession is likely to starve developing countries of their resources and the Fund predicts that these fledgling economies may face shortages of investments for many years to come.
George Perkovich, the Vice President of Studies and the Director of the Non-proliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke on April 20, 2009 about the prospects of reducing global nuclear stocks to zero. He discussed the numerous issues that must be resolved in order to even begin a discussion on going to zero nukes, but focused on one central issue that needs to be the first step: Bilateral negotiations between the US and Russia and between the US and China.
GlobalSolutions.org was thrilled to see that in the recent FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Bill that was just released by the White House, President Obama requested $836,900,000 for U.N. Peacekeeping operations. By supporting U.N. peacekeepers, the United States is able to address regional instability throughout the world, prevent pandemics, reduce the spread of terrorism, and avoid refugee crises. The total debt that the United States owes the United Nations is $1.56 billion; therefore, $836 million represents extraordinary action to catch up on this debt. The $836 million, a mere 1% of the overall Supplemental request, includes the maintenance of current U.N. peacekeeping operations and the funding of an expanded mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also, money from that fund will go to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad [MINURCAT].
When the United States falls so deeply into arrears, the U.N. is not able to send as many troops on the peacekeeping missions. For example, the United Nations is authorized to send 31,569 personnel to Darfur but the actual number is 17,692 because of the low level of funds. GlobalSolutions.org insists that Congress maintain this level of funding in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to U.N. Peacekeeping Operations and encourages you to express this same sentiment to your Congressperson. This significant contribution will help generate goodwill toward the United States and restore our financial standing at the United Nations.
ACT NOW to make sure the U.S. pays its peacekeeping dues
All over the world, millions of women are denied equal access to property, legal action, civic life and public participation on a daily basis. Seventy percent of the poorest people in the world are female. Of a total of 771 million illiterate adults, two-thirds are women. One out of three women will experience physical abuse or violence and one out of five will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] may not begin until December 7th but the preparatory talks are already underway. The Framework Convention on Climate Change consists of 192 countries, including the United States and China. All parties meet once a year in a Conference of Parties. Since the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will end in 2012, a new Climate Change agreement will need to be negotiated immediately.
My Experience at the CGS Conference in Washington D.C., March 19-21, 2009
By Stefanie A. Hausheer
Before attending the GlobalSolutions.org (CGS) conference in Washington, D.C., I understood in an abstract way that by voting, I helped send representatives to the nation's capitol to speak for me, but the experience of lobbying on Capitol Hill marked a turning point in my experience of American citizenship. As we walked past the countless senators' and representatives' offices and as my group met with staff members inside some of these offices, I felt so close to the seat of legislative and political power. Never before have I felt so connected to the government, and never before have I felt that we, the people, have so much power to affect the actions of our elected officials.
In addition to the empowering experience of lobbying, the incredible array of speakers that presented on various topics provided me with a wealth of fascinating information. Gillian Sorenson of the United Nations gave me fresh evidence of the U.N.'s important role in the international system, but she also reminded me that we Americans must push our government to be far more involved in the U.N. so that we can take advantage of the multilateral initiatives that it offers us.
North Korea tested a long range nuclear rocket over the weekend, following talks last Wednesday between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about reducing their countries' nuclear stockpiles. This act violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718, which prohibits North Korea from manipulating ballistic missile technologies. It was adopted unanimously in October 2006 as a result of claims that the country had performed successful nuclear tests in the beginning of the month.
About 30 international students from North Carolina State University hustled themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning to talk about what it means to be a Global Citizen. CEO Don Kraus met with the students at the CGS office in Washington, D.C., where he emphasized the need to be engaged with the rest of the world by learning, lobbying and traveling.
He demonstrated those points by showing the group the winning videos and animations from our 2008 Multimedia contest.
He also rolled out the first video in our new campaign, "What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?" The massive effort features video of people from all ages and professions, explaining in their own words, the need for global engagement, and the reasons they have decided to become more involved with world issues. The initial video features people ranging from original United World Federalist member Ed Rawson who lives in a Washington, D.C. suburb, to a college student who grew up on an isolated island off the northwestern coast of Washington state.
Don also read the group a quote by Thomas Jefferson that
is engraved on the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington, D.C.:
"as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."