President Donald Trump’s recent budget proposal called for major U.S. cuts to United Nations programs. Although many people think of “the U.N.” as a single monolithic entity, it is actually a broad system comprised of more than 30 organizations, each with its own mandate, ranging from peacekeeping to civil aviation coordination to child health and humanitarian food relief.
These are the trends, events, elections and happenings that will drive the global conversation in 2017. Welcome to our annual year-in preview listicle for the discerning global set!
1) With President Trump, expect the unexpected
The single defining global story of 2017 will be how the world responds to President Donald Trump. Since the end of World War Two, the entire rest of the world has looked to the United States as a guarantor of world order. The United States has not always lived up to expectations, but for the most part it adhered a general set of norms and principles that guided international relations. This included creating a rules-based international order through treaties, free trade and institutions like the United Nations. For the past 70 years, the behavior of the world’s superpower and the men who lead it were constrained in their foreign policy by those very institutions, norms and legal regimes that the USA helped champion. Not coincidentally, this kind of “strategic restraint” coincided with the emergence of the USA as the most powerful and wealthiest country in the history of the world.
Enter Donald Trump.
We simply do not know if he will continue the tradition of American global leadership or if he will dismiss the entire liberal international order established in the wake of World War Two. He could emerge as a traditional Republican foreign policy president, or he could radically upend the conventions of international relations. We just don’t know. And that fact that we do not know this will be the single most defining feature of 2017.
— Mark Leon Goldberg
This year seems to have packed in more news events and shocking developments than any other in recent memory. As 2016 draws to an end, many are fearful of how the political trends that surfaced this year will play out and what their long-term effect will be on the international legal order. At the same time, the year has seen a number of successes in international law, most notably in judicial decisions that championed the rule of law against the interests of powerful states and corporations. This post highlights and discusses ten international law victories and failures in 2016.
The United Nations adopted a landmark resolution on 27 October to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. This historic decision heralds an end to two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.
At a meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security matters, 123 nations voted in favour of the resolution, with 38 against and 16 abstaining.
The resolution will set up a UN conference beginning in March next year, open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The negotiations will continue in June and July.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a civil society coalition active in 100 countries, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a major step forward, marking a fundamental shift in the way that the world tackles this paramount threat.
2016 was a milestone year in the continued warming of the planet. From unstable agriculture to the drought in California to melting ice sheets to extreme weather events and heat waves, climate change has disrupted virtually every corner of the world.
It’s impossible to exhaustively list all the ways in which climate change was felt in 2016, but here’s a guide to understanding the year that was for the planet:
A carbon dioxide milestone
“In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate,” Brian Kahn of Climate Central wrote earlier this year.
That’s because, during September, a month in which atmospheric carbon dioxide — a heat-trapping greenhouse gas —is usually at its lowest, the monthly value failed to drop below 400 parts per million. The 400 ppm mark has sad significance in the climate community, as it has long been considered a point of no return for the atmosphere by scientists.
28 December 2016 – The year 2016 was a challenging one for the international community, with the conflict in Syria worsening despite efforts to end the fighting, escalating violence and insecurity in South Sudan and Yemen, and a five million increase in the number of refugees worldwide.
Yet 2016, the hottest year on record, was also marked by critical breakthroughs, such as the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entering into force faster than any other UN treaty, Colombia clinching a historic peace deal to end 50 years of civil conflict, and governments as well as stakeholders from the private sector agreeing on a plan to control carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also came into force this year, with calls for greater efforts towards their implementation.
In his presentation, 27-year-old Mr. Walid Issa shared his story and discussed the projects he has created to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Raised in the Dehesha refugee camp in Bethlehem, Walid is the founder of the American Palestinian Hope Project and the co-founder of the Shades Program on Negotiation.