A Great Week for International Institutions


After Zimbabwe won its election to Chair the Commission on Sustainable Development and Paul Wolfowitz held the World Bank hostage last month, international institutions were due for a boost.
The month wasn’t all bad – after all, human rights groups did manage to help defeat Belarus in its bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Still, more good news was badly needed.
Fortunately, this has been a week of good news.
Bob Zoellick will be the World Bank President. For the reasons Steve outlines, this is a great pick.
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is investigating mass rape in the Central African Republic. His record to this point has been careful, measured, lawyerly (in the best sense of the word), and steadfastly apolitical. The extremely counterproductive U.S. policy on the ICC is looking more and more ridiculous.
The U.N. Security Council approved the establishment of a tribunal to investigate the assasination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This is precisely the kind of thing that the Security Council is supposed to be doing.
B’nai B’rith International sponsored a “U.N. recruitment seminar” in Israel, a small, but notably positive step in the effort to diffuse Israel-U.N. tensions.
The U.N. told troop contributing nations that they would have to adhere to formal, strict disciplinary standards, which should hopefully go a long way toward improving the conduct of U.N. peacekeepers and the U.N.’s reputation, too.
The World Health Organization urged all countries to make indoor buildings smoke-free. If you’ve ever spent an afternoon in the Vienna Cafe at U.N. headquarters gasping for air, you can understand how big of a leap this is.
And that’s just the big stuff. The security and humanitarian deliverables that international institutions provide for very little money goes under the radar all the time. Good on them for stealing the headlines in a positive way this week.
— Scott Paul
p.s: It can’t all be good news. President Bush’s announcement on a new climate agreement today was a major slap in the face to the G8, the U.N. Framekwork Convention on Climate Change, and, well, pretty much everyone else. My colleague Rebecca Brown gets it right at the Citizens for Global Solutions blog.


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