UN Recap: October 10-15, 2021

Editor’s note: Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.

* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lays out $3.12 billion regular budget for 2022 for world body

* U.N.: 400,000 Yemeni children at imminent risk from malnutrition

New military offensive in Ethiopia

The situation in northern Ethiopia remains at the top of the U.N. agenda, as Tigrayan fighters accuse the federal government of launching a new military offensive using airstrikes, drones and heavy artillery against them. Kenya is presiding over the U.N. Security Council this month, where the situation was last discussed on October 6. On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired a debate about peacebuilding and was asked about Tigray at a press encounter. See his response here:

US to return to U.N. Human Rights Council

After a decades-long on/off relationship with the controversial Geneva-based council, the Biden administration decided to run for a seat, after the Trump administration withdrew in June 2018. Read about the results of Thursday’s election and what impact the U.S. presence might have:

UN chief urges countries not to let Afghanistan’s economy collapse

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week that Afghanistan faces a “make-or-break moment” and that without international support its economy could collapse. Speaking ahead of the G-20 special summit on Afghanistan, he appealed for an urgent injection of cash into the economy:

Meanwhile, humanitarians race against time to get enough supplies in place for millions of vulnerable Afghans before winter sets in:

News in brief

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid out the U.N.’s 2022 annual budget: $3.12 billion, a net reduction of 2.8% over the 2021 budget. That figure doesn’t include peacekeeping missions, which will run around $6.4 billion for 2021-22. Each country’s annual dues are calculated based on their national income and population size. … U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, said 20 million people, or two-thirds of Yemen’s population, need humanitarian assistance. Five million people are just a step away from famine and about 400,000 children are at imminent risk of death from malnutrition.

Some good news

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the global number of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths has been on the decline since late August. “Over 2.8 million new cases and over 46,000 new deaths were reported during the week of 4 to 10 October 2021, representing a 7% and 10% decrease respectively, as compared to the previous week,” WHO said.

Quote of note

“Kabul looked like a graveyard of people who were alive. People who were hopeless, disappointed, powerless.”

— Fawzia Koofi, first woman deputy speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament, to the U.N. Security Council of the days after the Taliban’s August 15 takeover

What we are watching next week

Dictators on notice: Human rights in Belarus, DPRK, Iran, Myanmar and Syria come under the microscope in the U.N. General Assembly’s third committee.

Did you know?

U.N. headquarters spans several blocks in New York City’s Turtle Bay neighborhood. The area, once settled by Dutch farmers, got its name from a small cove on the East River, which the world body looks out on.

Source: Voice of America