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UN Week- 12/19/2011

December 27, 2011

This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone.

by John and Douglas Carey

Contents of this issue: due process at the UN; a plea against species extinction.

 Due process at the UN.

          On November 30, according to UN press releases dated December 16th, two sanctions-imposing committees created by the Security Council adopted guidelines for meting out punishment. One was the committee created this year by resolution 1988 on the Afghan Taliban while the other was the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee established back in 1999 by resolution 1267.

          Neither set of rules provides for participation by targets in the stages leading up to their being listed and subjected to travel bans and/or asset seizure. Only after they are on the list do they have any chance to participate in an effort to be de-listed.

          The 1988 Committee’s rules provide for “delisting requests from a petitioner (individual(s), groups, undertakings and/or entities on the 1988 list)” while the rules of the 1267 Committee require a listed person or entity to go through the Office of the Ombudsperson or through one of two Governments, that of residence or nationality.

          Witness this, appearing under a heading of “8. Updating the Existing Information on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List: (a) The Committee shall consider expeditiously, in accordance with the following procedures, any information supplied by Member States, regional or international organizations, or the Monitoring Team * * * ” Where is the target mentioned? It is not; it plays no role except indirectly and only at the de-listing stage.

Apparently information from the most interested party, the target of sanctions imposed by the Committee, is not to be considered. What kind of due process is that?

A plea against species extinction.

 On December 17, 2011, the UN launched the Decade on Biodiversity with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging humanity to live in harmony with nature and to preserve and properly manage its riches for the prosperity of current and future generations.

“Ensuring truly sustainable development for our growing human family depends on biological diversity and the vital goods and services it offers,” Ban said in his message to the launch event delivered on his behalf by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, in the Japanese city of Kanazawa.

“While the poor suffer first and worst from biodiversity loss, all of society stands to lose from this mass extinction. There are also the opportunity costs what cures for disease, and what other useful discoveries, might we never know of because a habitat is destroyed forever, or land is polluted beyond all use?”

“Sustaining them sustains job growth,” he said. “With the world undergoing a youth bulge, sustainable use of biodiversity is not an isolated ‘ecological’ green approach, but an indispensable pillar of sustainable development for future generations,” said Mr. Akasaka. Human activities have caused the extinction of plants and animals at some hundreds or thousands of times faster than what the natural rate would have been, Mr. Akasaka pointed out.

“We cannot reverse extinction. We can, however, prevent future extinction of other species right now. For the next 10 years our commitment to protecting more than eight million species, and our wisdom in contributing to a balance of life, will be put to a test,” he said.

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