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For the month of April, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will lead the U.S. presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC), an honor awarded to member nations on a rotating basis.
If Rice’s agenda as ambassador to the UN is any indication, the security implications of climate change should feature as a prominent item during the U.S. presidency. Indeed, when Rice was confirmed as ambassador, she articulated four key areas that she would focus on: “strengthening the capacity of the UN to undertake complex peace operations effectively; addressing climate change; preventing the spread or use of nuclear weapons and working to meet the goals of the Nonproliferation Treaty; and combating poverty, disease, violence and genocide.” (more…)
The Economist published an interesting, if alarming, piece on Saturday exploring the explosive intersection of shifting weather patterns, political extremism, and the movement of heavy weapons in the Sahel region of Africa (for those who are unfamiliar, the Sahel constitutes the 5,400 km-wide arid and semi-arid plains south of the Sahara desert, and north of the more water-rich Sudanian Savannahs, stretching like a vast ribbon from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea). (more…)
Libya Hurra. Free Libya. This was one of the main rallying cries for the Libyan opposition last year, which with NATO assistance, toppled the brutal 40-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi. But four and a half months after Gaddafi’s downfall, Libya under the leadership of the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) is facing the problem of reconciling the many different “free Libyas” envisioned by different publics, and addressing allegations of some “not-so-free” practices. The eastern region of Cyrenaica, with its capital at Benghazi (the heart of the anti-Gaddafi movement) has declared itself a semi-autonomous region, prompting major protests in both Benghazi and Tripoli. Despite recent successes by the central government, armed militias still roam the country, and the capacity of the government in Tripoli to keep them in check has been questioned. Indeed, the city of Misrata has been described as a virtual “armed city-state” in opposition to the central government. Furthermore, reports of human rights abuses committed against suspected Gaddafi sympathizers, including black African migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, abound.
But while the Libyan government currently seeks in earnest to address these conflicts, it may be less overtly political issues, such as climate change and water resource management, that hold the key to building unity. (more…)