Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.
IAEA chief briefs Security Council on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Friday that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s power infrastructure had been destroyed in shelling, leading to a complete blackout in the surrounding town of Enerhodar. The IAEA said the plant’s Ukrainian operator is considering shutting down the plant’s only remaining working reactor. Earlier in the week, Grossi briefed the Security Council on his mission to the plant.
IAEA Chief: Attacks on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant ‘Playing With Fire’
UN concerned by Russia’s ‘filtration’ of Ukrainian civilians
The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights said Wednesday that her office has verified that Russian soldiers and affiliated groups subject Ukrainian civilians to an invasive process called “filtration,” and she called for access to those being detained by Russia.
UN Concerned by Russia’s ‘Filtration’ of Ukrainian Civilians
UN chief in Pakistan to see flood damage
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Islamabad on Friday to meet with Pakistan government officials and visit flood-impacted areas. One-third of the country is under water after deadly and destructive monsoon rains. The U.N. has appealed for an emergency $160 million to assist 5.2 million people.
UN Chief: Flood-Ravaged Pakistan Wrongly Attacked by ‘Blind’ Nature
Pandemic, other crises hurt human development
The U.N. Development Program said in a new report this week that the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic uncertainty and other crises have halted progress in human development and reversed gains made over the past three decades. Data from 191 countries show 90% failed to achieve a better, healthier, more secure life for their people in 2020 and 2021.
Crises Halt Progress in Human Development: UN Report
UN official: Sahel must not be forgotten amid other crises
A senior U.N. official for Africa warned this week that the Sahel region risks becoming a forgotten crisis because of the many competing emergencies around the world. Charles Bernimolin told VOA that the world must not ignore the 18.6 million people there who face acute hunger, with many on the brink of starvation. He said 7.7 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished, including nearly 2 million who are severely malnourished and risk dying without prompt treatment.
Sahel Risks Becoming a Forgotten Crisis, UN Official Says
— Guterres appointed Volker Türk the next U.N. high commissioner for human rights on Thursday, following approval by the General Assembly. Turk, a native of Austria, has held a number of positions in the United Nations system. He succeeds Michelle Bachelet of Chile whose term ended on August 31.
— The General Assembly on Thursday approved a new U.N. Office for Youth Affairs. It will support governments in responding to the world’s 1.2 billion young people and their priorities — namely, education, jobs and peace.
— The World Meteorological Organization said this week in a new report that African communities, economies and ecosystems are being hit hard by water stress and events including drought and severe floods. The State of the Climate in Africa 2021 says high water stress affects about 250 million people in Africa and could displace up to 700 million people by 2030. In addition, four out of five African countries are unlikely to have sustainably managed water resources by 2030.
Some 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat arrived in Djibouti by ship late last month. This week, trucks delivered a portion of that wheat to the World Food Program’s main warehouse in Ethiopia. The food-assistance branch of the U.N. said the 23,000 tons of grain is enough to feed 1.5 million people on full rations for one month.
On September 13, the 77th session of the General Assembly will open. President-elect Csaba Korosi of Hungary will take his place at the dais. The following week, world leaders will convene at headquarters for their first completely in-person annual debate since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday after a more than 70-year reign. She was respected and admired by millions around the world. Although holding only constitutional powers, she wielded great soft power and was widely regarded as a fine diplomat in her own right. Nothing seduced world leaders like the honor of a state banquet at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace presided over by Her Majesty. Guterres on Thursday called her a “good friend of the United Nations.” During her reign, she addressed the General Assembly twice — in 1957 and 2010.
Read our report about her 2010 visit here:
Queen Elizabeth Addresses UN General Assembly
View U.N. video clips from both her visits here.