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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. peacekeeping gets a big boost

A Bolivian U.N. peacekeeper hands over a baby to his father during a distribution of water and meals to the residents in Cite Soleil, Haiti. 2010. (Credit: U.N. Photo/Marco Dormino)

On Day 1 of the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama hosted a pledging conference to bolster U.N. peacekeeping operations around the world, which are overstretched and under resourced. As a consequence of this “peacekeeping summit” about 30,000 new troops were committed to future operations as well as key material and other support structures intended to improve the effectiveness of operations. Perhaps most significantly, China made a big pledge to peacekeeping, fundamentally changing its relationship to U.N. peacekeeping. Here’s a rundown of why Obama held this meeting and the big commitments that were secured.  (UN Dispatch

Obama vs. Putin at the U.N. General Assembly
“U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply disagreed Monday over the chaos in Syria, with Obama urging a political transition to replace the Syrian president but Putin warning it would be a mistake to abandon the current government.” (AP

The end of Malaria?
Malaria could be wiped out by 2040, despite the lack of an effective vaccine, previous failed attempts to eradicate the disease and drug resistance problems, the United Nations and Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in a report released on Monday. (AP

Blood on the streets of Bangui
Tension and fear on Monday gripped Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, with the city’s main streets closed by barricades after a spate of violence, looting and the death of three protesters. A hospital source told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity the three were killed and seven were injured on Monday when U.N. peacekeepers opened fire as several hundred protesters headed for the presidency. The U.N. mission issued a denial. … With barricades raised across the city Monday, French and U.N. peacekeepers were on watch at key points after weekend trouble triggered by the killing of a motorcycle-taxi driver.” (AFP

Quote of the Day
“We are not Gays!”
—Robert Mugabe being Robert Mugabe at his U.N. General Assembly address. Context from Vox:


The testimony from dozens of people working in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s Unity state, points to the systematic abduction and abuse of women as a form of wages for forces allied to the government. The worst atrocities have led more than 110,000 people to seek safety at a U.N. base in the town. (Guardian

An individual was transferred to the ICC from Niger to face trial for allegedly destroying cultural heritage in Mali. (UN News Centre

The European Union will impose sanctions on four officials close to Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza in protest at his third term in office that has provoked a deep political crisis, diplomatic sources said. (Reuters

Uganda’s main opposition leader Kizza Besigye said he and his Forum for Democratic Change party are making preparations to go it alone in next year’s presidential election unless there is a change in the position of the Democratic Alliance. (VOA

Homophobic mobs have repeatedly attacked lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Kenya but police are unwilling to even attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice, rights groups said on Monday. (Reuters

Burkina Faso’s powerful presidential guard is resisting efforts to disarm it after carrying out a short-lived coup against a transitional government this month, the army’s chief of staff said on Monday. (Reuters

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the deployment of several hundred troops to South Sudan and Somalia to ‘shore up stability’ in those areas.  But aid groups say South Sudan desperately needs other forms of aid. (VOA

Run it back…A Sierra Leone official said the government is cautiously optimistic the country will successfully complete a new 42-day countdown to be declared Ebola-free without any setback. (Guardian

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says East African nations that have worked to bring a new peace agreement for South Sudan should expand their efforts to include the international community in implementing the pact to end 20 months of fighting. (VOA


The Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels mistakenly struck a wedding party on Monday, killing at least 38 people, Yemeni security officials said. (AP

Qatar plans to invest $35 billion over the next five years in the United States, as the energy-rich Gulf state diversifies its global stakes, its sovereign wealth fund said Monday. (AP

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday offered to help root out terrorism in the Middle East and said the United States and its support for Israel are a major cause of the violence. (WaPo


Taliban insurgents fought their way into a major city in northern Afghanistan on Monday, driving back stunned security forces in a multipronged attack that also sent Afghan officials and U.N. personnel fleeing for safety. (WaPo

About 1,000 pro-democracy activists rallied outside Hong Kong government headquarters on Monday to mark the first anniversary of protests that crippled parts of the Chinese-controlled city for weeks but failed to secure electoral reforms. (Reuters

Amnesty International called on Monday for the release of eight mainland Chinese activists who face long prison sentences for posting messages and pictures supporting Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protests. (Reuters

Save the Children’s new report suggests that Filipino ‘shortness’ is not just a genetic trait but is attributed to generations of ‘stunted’ children who are too small for their age because of malnutrition.

Afghan Taliban fighters on Monday seized control of a 200-bed hospital in Kunduz city in the north, a spokesman for the militants said. (Reuters

The Americas

Hundreds of people led by the parents and relatives of 43 missing students toured various sites in southern Mexico linked to the disappearance of the young people just over a year ago. (AP

…and the rest

Germany’s president has warned that there are limits to how many refugees his country can absorb as it prepares for as many as 800,000 arrivals this year, showing growing concern even at the highest level over how to look after so many newcomers. (Reuters

Doctors treated migrant children – including newborns – for exposure as dropping temperatures Monday worsened the plight of asylum-seekers walking for days trying to reach sanctuary in Europe. (AP

Art for refugees…Street artist Banksy has said he will send the material from his closed amusement park in England to France to help shelter refugees who are camped out there. (AFP

National promises to curb greenhouse gas emissions will help avert the worst levels of global warming by 2100, but more action is needed to keep temperature rises within the 2 degree limit set by governments, a study showed on Monday. (Reuters


Four takeaways from the Global Citizen Festival (Humanosphere

The UN gives a big boost to maternal and child health. (UN Dispatch

A change of perspective on Social Good. (UN Dispatch

U.N.’s Mixed Messages on Nepal’s Constitution (IPS

Can Silk Shield Kenyan Farmers From Climate Change? (SciDevNet

Sustainable Development Goals Are in Reach If African Universities Work Together (The Conversation

SDGs and the Dangers of Data (IRIN

What Are the Sustainable Development Goals and Why Do They Matter? (TRF

Measuring discrimination will bring the gender equality global goal a step closer (Guardian

Why SDGs Won’t Make the World a Fairer Place (Fahamu

Is Burkina Faso Out of the Woods? (ISS

How the U.S. Is Expanding Its Fight Against Extremism in Africa (The Conversation


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]