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Optimism is lovely, but individual action won’t solve climate change. \!/_PeacePlusOne/Flickr

Fixing climate change: the future isn’t what it used to be

This is the last part of a series following on from the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report and looking at emerging alternatives to the UN climate agreement…
Getting an agreement on gas could set the tone for other industry emissions reduction agreements. stefo/Flickr

Could sectoral agreements solve climate change?

This is part two of a three-part series that follows on from the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, looking at emerging alternatives to the UN climate agreement…
The UN Security Council’s statement on the humanitarian and refugee crisis developing in Syria may be a start, but will it actually help those displaced? EPA/Jamal Nasrallah

Can the UN solve Syria’s humanitarian disaster?

After finally passing its first resolution on the Syrian crisis late last week, the United Nations Security Council has now turned its attention to the humanitarian crisis now unfolding within the country…
Our climate system is collapsing, but international negotiations in Paris still hold out the best promise for change. 350.org/Flickr

Climate talks could succeed, if Australia toughens targets

Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, said last week that on climate, “We have five minutes before midnight”. He argues that governments have historically avoided…
Maybe reducing the number of participants would help bring agreement. Andrea Lawardi

International climate agreements? There must be a better way

With the release Friday of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report of the state of climate science, the message has never been clearer: we have to do something to get…
A little less conversation, a little more action please. Stefan Rousseau/PA

UN General Assembly another venue for Obama’s inaction

And so the annual autumn ritual of American masochism begins again in New York. Like inviting your least likeable in-laws to detail your worst features to your nearest and dearest after an agreeable Christmas…
Dilma day. redebrasilatual

Multipolar moment brings chance of golden age for UN

The annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly always draws distinguished speakers, but their speeches rarely have much international impact. General Assembly speeches are heavy on rhetoric…
So good, they gave it a Nobel Peace Prize (2007) IPCC

Explainer: what is the IPCC anyway, and how does it work?

The latest climate change assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, is due to arrive this weekend. This will be the fifth comprehensive assessment report (AR5) prepared by…
Should new prime minister Tony Abbott make his first impression on a world stage with a trip to the UN for Leaders’ Week? AAP/Andrew Gombert

New York is Jakarta: why Tony Abbott should attend Leaders’ Week at the UN

Foreign minister Julie Bishop’s austerity announcements over the weekend make it clear that she will attend Leaders’ Week at the United Nations later this month. But it is still not clear whether Australia’s…
Great Satan: Iran-US relations will have to overcome 30 years of emnity. Open Democracy

UN assembly could see thaw between Iran and ‘Great Satan’

After more than three decades of false starts and missed opportunities, something might be finally moving on the diplomatic front between Iran and the United States. The two relatively moderate administrations…
Hard to get rid of: the US still hasn’t destroyed its chemical weapons stockplie. US government

Explainer: how will Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed?

Bashar Assad’s decision to sign up Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) last week committed his country to verifiably give up the possession of chemical weapons and their production capabilities…
Will the US attack Syria in the face growing international condemnation and opposition? EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Malcolm Fraser: Syria attack ‘illegal’

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser has attacked American plans to launch attacks on the Assad regime in Syria, describing them as illegal and reminiscent of the disastrous invasion of Iraq…
Raising the issue of protecting women in conflict zones such as Syria should be high on Australia’s agenda when it assumes presidency of the Security Council. EPA/Lucie Parsaghian

Women, peace and security: the theme of Australia’s Security Council presidency

A priority mentioned in Australian speeches and statements to the United Nations this year - Women, Peace and Security (WPS) - is likely to feature as the key “theme” of Australia’s presidency of the Security…
Deadly force: the US navy’s humanitarian intervention in Libya in 2011. Wikimedia Commons

International law is clear: no UN mandate, no Syria strikes

As the drums beat louder for the possibility of Western military intervention in Syria, we have seen discussion of an intervention on moral, strategic and practical grounds. But so far none of the major…
The UN Security Council’s sanctions regime processes are in need of reform. Can Australia make any effective changes during its presidency of the Security Council? EPA/Justin Lane

Security Council sanctions: can Australia make a difference?

For the United Nations Security Council, sanctions are an important instrument in addressing threats to international peace and security. They usually take the form of controls and bans on travel, trade…
Best friends forever: Russia has always supported Syria, despite international pressure. Freedom House

Fatal attraction: Russia’s flawed friendship with Syria

As UN inspectors finally began their search for evidence of chemical weapons being used in Syria, on Wednesday Damascus apparently suffered the worst attack of this kind yet in this conflict. Some reports…
Kevin Rudd reportedly plans to revisit the UN’s Refugee Convention as the numbers of asylum seekers arriving by boat continue daily. EPA/Tubagus

Explainer: Australia’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention

Prime minister Kevin Rudd has indicated that he would like to revisit Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. We are yet to learn what this may mean…
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters in New York to call for freedom for education for children globally. EPA/Justin Lane

Malala’s dreams are up against a rough terrain

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, now recovered from serious injuries after the Taliban shot her last year, delivered a defiant speech to the United Nations General Assembly over the weekend. She called…
The Catholic Church has been reticent about its investigations into child abuse. John Shore

Vatican silence on abuse likely to continue despite UN plea

Last week the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) asked the Vatican to disclose details of child sexual abuse cases involving Catholic clergy for the period November 1995 to January 2014. According…

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