Monday, February 28, 2011

UNEP Meeting In Nairobi Struggles on Environmental Issues

Approximately 100 environment ministers gathered last week in Nairobi under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to address the need for an in-depth reform its own system for addressing environmental issues, particularly climate change.  The ministers called for the question to be studied and if possible decided on at the next UN summit on sustainable development planned for June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.  Beginning with the 1992 earth summit in Rio, a thick mesh of directives that remain confusing even to specialists have evolved.

UNEP is behind the World Trade Organization or the World Health Organization. With a 2010 budget of 83 million dollars, it is one of only two UN agencies to be headquartered in Africa. Only 58 states, out of a total of 193 in the world, are members. Each convention has its own secretariat, which scarcely communicates with the others.

Between 1992 and 2007, 540 meetings have been called under 18 international treaties, generating more than 5000 decisions. The convention on climate change, adopted in 1992, has collected about 100 billion dollars for its budget. But beyond the facade of everything being unanimous, talks on how to harmonize the system have been deadlocked for years. (AFP, 2/25/2011)

Friday, February 11, 2011

J. Scott Gration Appointed Ambassador to Kenya

Scott Gration
J. Scott Gration, the Obama administration's Sudan envoy, will become U.S. ambassador to Kenya.

Gration, a retired Air Force major general, was one of the first prominent military officials to embrace Obama as a presidential candidate, and he traveled with the then senator to Africa in 2006. Gration grew up in Africa, the son of missionaries, and speaks Swahili.

He has a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and earned a master's degree in national security studies from Georgetown University in Washington in 1988. (Wash Post, 2/11/2011, Wiki)