Tag Archive for United Nations

President Obama: “We are all stakeholders in this international system”

On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly – his last address to that body before his term expires next January.

President Obama spoke of our shared progress and shared responsibilities:

We are all stakeholders in this international system, and it calls upon all of us to invest in the success of institutions to which we belong. And the good news is, is that many nations have shown what kind of progress is possible when we make those commitments. […]

Time and again, human beings have believed that they finally arrived at a period of enlightenment only to repeat, then, cycles of conflict and suffering. Perhaps that’s our fate. We have to remember that the choices of individual human beings led to repeated world war. But we also have to remember that the choices of individual human beings created a United Nations, so that a war like that would never happen again. Each of us as leaders, each nation can choose to reject those who appeal to our worst impulses and embrace those who appeal to our best. For we have shown that we can choose a better history.[…]

My own family is a made up of the flesh and blood and traditions and cultures and faiths from a lot of different parts of the world — just as America has been built by immigrants from every shore. And in my own life, in this country, and as President, I have learned that our identities do not have to be defined by putting someone else down, but can be enhanced by lifting somebody else up. They don’t have to be defined in opposition to others, but rather by a belief in liberty and equality and justice and fairness.

Full transcript below

International Women’s Day: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”

In 1995, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing China.

Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is a good time to reflect on her words:

Hillary Clinton:

Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not. As an American, I want to speak for those women in my own country, women who are raising children on the minimum wage, women who can’t afford health care or child care, women whose lives are threatened by violence, including violence in their own homes.

I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean air, and clean airwaves; for older women, some of them widows, who find that, after raising their families, their skills and life experiences are not valued in the marketplace; for women who are working all night as nurses, hotel clerks, or fast food chefs so that they can be at home during the day with their children; and for women everywhere who simply don’t have time to do everything they are called upon to do each and every day.

Speaking to you today, I speak for them, just as each of us speaks for women around the world who are denied the chance to go to school, or see a doctor, or own property, or have a say about the direction of their lives, simply because they are women. The truth is that most women around the world work both inside and outside the home, usually by necessity. […]

We need to understand there is no one formula for how women should lead our lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her own God-given potential. But we must recognize that women will never gain full dignity until their human rights are respected and protected. […]

It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights. […]

Let this conference be our — and the world’s — call to action. Let us heed that call so we can create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every boy and girl is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future. That is the work before you. That is the work before all of us who have a vision of the world we want to see — for our children and our grandchildren.

(Full text of speech below)

COP21 – UN Climate Summit Begins in Paris on November 30 – UPDATED with Photos from #ClimateMarch

Monday marks the start of a two-week long gathering of the planet’s political leaders and representatives at the COP21 summit in Paris.

What is COP21? From the BBC:

COP21 is short for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

That long winded title was created in Rio in 1992 where countries concerned about the impacts of climate change came together under the United Nations to do something about it.

They signed a convention that came into force in 1994 and has now been ratified by 195 countries, including the United States.

The key aim is the “stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. […]

… the world’s governments have already committed to curbing human activities such as burning fossil fuels that release the gases that interfere with the climate.

But that isn’t problem solved.

The difficulty comes when you try to get 195 countries to agree on how to deal with the issue of climate change. Every year since 1992 the Conference of the Parties has taken place with negotiators trying to put together a practical plan of action.

This year’s COP21 in Paris is the last chance for this process. Negotiators agreed in 2011 that a deal had to be done by the end of 2015.

On November 30, heads of state will gather and other events will follow:

The Leaders Event will start at 11 a.m. with speeches by François Hollande, Ban Ki-moon and Laurent Fabius. […]

At 4 p.m.: launch of the Mission Innovation (Clean Tech) initiative, in the presence of Barack Obama and Bill Gates. This is a commitment by States to double their research and development budgets by 2020 and by private investors to increase their own investments. It is being organized in liaison with the White House, the United States Department of Energy headed by Ernest Moniz, and Bill Gates.

It’s time to get engaged … links and shareables below.

President Obama: “This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change”

An Iranian nuclear deal has been reached:

(Final video. Full text of transcript below the fold.)

President Obama:

“The United States, together with our international partners, has reached a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“As President Kennedy said, ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate’.”

“History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles”

“This deal is not built on trust. It’s built on verification.”

“There’s a very real incentive for Iran to follow through, and there are very real consequences for a violation”.

“I have made clear to the Iranian people that we will always be open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and…respect.”

“We give nothing up by testing whether this problem can be solved peacefully.”

“I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal.”

“I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

Vice President Biden, after the speech, whispered “Good job” to the President. (He could have added “This is a Big F-ing Deal”.)

From the White House:

After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany — along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.

This deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.

Now, with this deal in place, the U.S., our allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon

(Details below)