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Zimbabwe to head UN committee on Sustainable Development

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by mayab, May 13, 2007.

  1. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    Fury over Zimbabwe's UN role
    By Raymond Whitaker
    Published: 13 May 2007
    Britain and the US were outraged yesterday after Zimbabwe was chosen to head a key United Nations committee on the environment, despite the country's political repression and economic chaos.

    Defying opposition led by the European Union, President Robert Mugabe's Environment and Tourism Minister, Francis Nhema, was narrowly elected chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The 26-21 vote came after African delegates, whose turn it was to nominate the new head, chose Zimbabwe to represent them.

    "Zimbabwe's election will be seen as an outrage by millions of people who look to the United Nations for help to escape from poverty," said Ian Pearson, Britain's minister for climate change and the environment. "They will be asking how the body charged with promoting sustainable development will be able to maintain credibility while being chaired by a representative of a government whose failed policies have destroyed its own economy." Inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 2,000 per cent as corruption, farm seizures and political violence disrupt the economy.

    Daniel Reifsnyder, the US deputy assistant secretary for environment, said: "We really think it calls into question the credibility of this organisation to have a representative from a country that has decimated its agriculture, that used to be the breadbasket of Africa and can't now feed itself."

    EU countries said the commission's entire two-week session had degenerated into scripted speeches, with no targets being set for renewable energy and other environmental policies. It refused to approve a final "consensus document" because it did not include concrete measures, and the meeting ended without one.

  2. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    This is so ridiculous and Mugabe is going to use this appointment to further bolster his position.
  3. basketballjones

    basketballjones TRIBE Member

    par for the course for the UN
  4. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    A country with inflation begged at just around %2000... this is why the UN special comities are a total and complete joke.
  5. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    One of the latest crazy decisions by Mugabe was to cut electricity to all the urban areas in Zim for 3 months because they can no longer serve the whole country with electricity and the rural areas need to get some power for a few months.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he was just powering up his own country homes. Ugh, he makes me so angry.
  6. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    without the power farms have no pumps, no pumps means no irrigation, no irrigation means no crops. These crops are sold for export for the most part so no crops means that they have no hard currency and with there currency deflating to nothing it means they can't buy any fuel and thus the power is even worse.

    Its actually doubtful (as much as I hate Mugabe and he's high on my list of leaders who should be removed from power) that Mugabe is doing this for personal gain. I question his actions but I think his motivation isn't as nefarious as it would appear.
  7. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    I'm not sure how much they are able to export since most of the farms were destroyed when they were taken away from their previous owners and replaced by subsistence farming or Mugabe's government friends who don't know anything about farming.

    Maybe he has kept a few tobacco farms going and wants the power to keep that crop profitable so that he can personally receive some foreign currency. He has single-handedly destroyed the economy and I would argue that all his decisions are 100% self-serving. Most Mugabe supporters live in the rural areas and most opposition supporters live in the urban areas, so it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that this is yet another political move by Mugabe.
  8. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    I'll give you that, end of the day I do dislike him and I want him gone so I'm not about to defend him on anything
  9. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    All this kind of criticism is so selective though. What about Russia or the US heading a given committee, say "Human rights" or whatnot?

    I understand that Zimbabwe is a bit more of a pariah state than either the uS or Russia - and that things there are far advanced down a path of societal disintegration. Still -Zimbabwe got voted in by its peers, and we gotta stick with that.
  10. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Okay but I had a serious issue with Syria (openly tortures people) heading up the Human rights one a couple of years ago. Zimbabwe is easily the wrost current example out there so having them lead sustainable development is a complete and utter joke. I'm not asking for perfection but a little better then worst on the book is reasonable to expect.
  11. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    I don't think he is going anywhere. The country is just going to have wait around until he dies before they can hope to move forward. I did have a brief moment of excitement this weekend because Tokyo Sexwale has mentioned that he would run for the leadership of the ANC if asked and I believe that he has excellent leadership potential for the region.
  12. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    Zimbabwe shouldn't even be allowed to be involved with the UN anymore. Mugabe uses UN meetings to travel overseas and gets around many of the sanctions against him this way.
  13. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    If you're a sovereign nation you should be in the UN. Period.

    The moment we create more "benchmarks" for access to the UN is the moment those benchmarks become tools of the already powerful states within the UN.

    The UN is a place of dialogue, and unfortunately, sometimes that means dialoguing with reprehensible people.

    As for Syria being head of the UNHRC, again, I don't have a problem with that.

    Many states have blots on their human records apart from Syria and have chaired that council.

    All countries deserve to have their voice heard in the UN and its various entities, even those we may think are particularly apalling with regards to their human rights records. The problem is the same as I mentioned above - if you say Syria can't chair it, then why should the US or Russia be able to chair it? Who decides - and based on what criteria? By having such critieria you merely give more levers to the powerful states who can then twist those criteria to their advantage.
  14. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Fair enough but I can't support any plan that Zimbabwe tables in regards to sustainable development. Just like any country that openly tortures people and has a horrific human rights circumstance (I'm not talking speculation on past we're talking they torture people currently) I can't pay much attention to.

    If the UN wants to be taken seriously then they need to make choices based on reality and not based on turn order.
  15. mayab

    mayab TRIBE Member

    South Africa was only readmitted to the UN General Assembly in 1994 after a period of international isolation. Sanctions worked to put pressure on the apartheid regime in South Africa and meaningful sanctions would help put more pressure on Mugabe.
  16. SellyCat

    SellyCat TRIBE Member

    A 10lbs puck of Semtex under Mugabe's limousine would do wonders for Zimbabwe's sustainable development.
  17. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    If Zimbabwe tables a poor plan, then it will be voted down.

    Simple as that.

    NOTE: I also think that Zimbabwe heading this particular UN body is ridiculous and in a perfect world - not something that would happen. But - they were voted in by their peer countries, and we have to live with the results of that vote. The UN - as an organization that includes all countries "good" and "bad" - will always have moments like this. Its membership is not decided based on merit, but on whether this or that government represents a state. This is why I find these "controversies" so tired - its bound to happen given the nature of the organization. If you don't want Zimbabwe heading this particular aspect of the UN then you have to make your case and persuade other countries to NOT vote them in. The only room for criticism here I think would be with regards to the failure of the US and the UK and other "anti-Zimbabwe" nations in making this case successfully.

    EDIT: good point on SA - but I would assume that both its banning from the UN and subsequent reinstatement were the product of votes in the GA. Similar methods should be pursued with respect to Zimbabwe, and if the case is made, then the votes will be there.
  18. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    wait a second its an election where only african nations are allowed to vote because of a rotation of voting nations. If none of the first world is allowed to vote and they have to pick a nation from Africa what the fuck do we expect.
  19. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    ^^ From the Pat Robertson School of International Diplomacy.... :D
  20. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Right - but there was certainly behind-the-scenes manouevering discouraging a vote for Zimbabwe on the part of non-african nations like the US and the UK.

    Then again - there's not all that many countries in Africa that have A) good human rights records and B) practising sustainable development.

    Chances are that whoever won the vote would have some blemishes on their record. Zimbabwe definitely has a few more than most, but the pool was not one with all that many good candidates.
  21. SellyCat

    SellyCat TRIBE Member

    Imagine if I had my own TV channel!
  22. Bass-Invader

    Bass-Invader TRIBE Member

    Zimbabwe contributes so many troops to UN peacekeeping ops that i'm sure that the UN was under a huge amount of pressure to give them something.
  23. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member


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