The World of International Organizations Explained

Critics see lost chance on fighting diseases

Doctor with the International Medical Corps examines a boy at a mobile health clinic in Pakistan (ARÊTE/Vicki Francis)

Hundreds of organizations and experts described the third United Nations high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases as a “squandered” opportunity to boost global financing and commitments for reducing millions of premature or early deaths.

Global appeal to free captive journalists

Scene in Yangon, Myanmar (ARÊTE/Eddy Milfort)

Participants in a high-profile gathering at the United Nations denounced countries that imprison journalists for doing their jobs — particularly Myanmar, Bangladesh, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan. The gathering at U.N. headquarters in New York highlighted the many challenges to press freedoms globally.

Wetlands vanishing at triple rate of forests

Coastal wetlands in the U.S. at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge (ARÊTE/Kelly Fike)

The world has lost about 35 percent of its swamps, bogs and other wetlands since nearly a half-century ago, with the loss rate accelerating because of rising temperatures, populations and urbanization, according to the first assessment by a global treaty among 170 nations known as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Trump lambastes U.N. as ‘unaccountable’

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.N. General Assembly (ARÊTE/White House)

U.S. President Donald Trump used his second annual address to the U.N. General Assembly to unleash his nationalist, anti-globalist themes while reducing the world’s leading international organization and everything it represents to “an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy.”

Nuclear power in the age of climate change

Switzerland's Gösgen Nuclear Power Plant (ARÊTE/John Heilprin)

The U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency released two reports this month that together capture nuclear power’s incongruity. Its economic appeal is uncertain, but it has relative advantages in fighting climate change.

Syria task force seeks civilian protections

The destruction in a once-thriving farm town in Syria's Idlib province after government shelling in 2012 (ARÊTE/Freedom House)

Despite agreeing to create a buffer zone in Syria’s Idlib region, Russia and Turkey will allow air raids and ground offensives to continue in areas heavily populated with trapped civilians, the head of a U.N.-led humanitarian task force said.

Myanmar democratic push at a ‘standstill’

Rohingya refugees at a Myanmar camp accessible only by sea (ARÊTE/Mathias Eick)

U.N. human rights investigators urged international justice for Myanmar’s military-led “crimes that shock the human conscience,” pointing to them as evidence that the democratic transition promised by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has all but ground to a halt.

Syria buffer zone is latest use of old tool

Syrian independence flag unfurled above protesters in Idlib, Syria (ARÊTE/Freedom House)

The demilitarized buffer zone in Syria’s Idlib region makes use of a centuries-old tool that has become an important feature of how international treaties and organizations can offer peace and collective security. Russian and Turkish troops will start patrolling the 15-20 kilometers (9-12 miles) zone by mid-October,

WTO welcomes revamp by trade ministers

The World Trade Organization in Geneva (ARÊTE/John Heilprin)

The World Trade Organization, under mounting pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to justify its global rules and even its own existence, is taking a pragmatic and welcoming approach to calls for significant changes in how it operates from among the world’s 20 largest economies.

High seas treaty a step closer to reality

Lava rock off the coast of Blue Lagoon, Iceland (ARÊTE/Thomas James Caldwell)

Diplomats, experts and international organizations are rushing to protect the rich and mysterious biodiversity of open oceans against mounting commercial pressures. No effective or coordinated system of global governance is in place to regulate ocean areas that lie beyond the control of any country and cover almost half the planet.

The world of international organizations explained.

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