Tag Archives: international conferences

Palestinian Statehood: So what next?

UN General Assembly recognises Palestine.

In the early hours of this morning, it was announced that the United Nations General Assembly had voted to recognise Palestine as a “Non-Member State”, by a majority of 138 for to 9 against. Well, as majorities go, that’s pretty damn convincing.

So, what does it mean for Palestine?

Well, if you believe every word the antagonists (Israel, US, among others) tell you – then this will make no difference to the situation on the ground unless Palestine continue negotiations. Shifting any responsibility from Israel. However, if Israel and Hamas negative responses to the UN vote is an indicator, then the situation between the two nations remains very hostile. It all seems that Mahmoud Abbas is trying to push for a reasonable resolution, while everyone else insists on being unreasonable and unco-operative.

Maybe the vote shows just how much support Palestine has from the international community. The majority of nation states voted for status as a “non-member observer”, but none of those were the most powerful, who continue to take the side of Israel. And without a powerful country on their side, Palestine are still at a disadvantage.

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Rio +20: Give us 20 more years to talk about it

So, the International Hot Air bandwagon returned to Rio for a twentieth anniversary talking shop about the environment. In the end the produced a document called The Future We Want which has been attacked by pretty much everyone with an interest in looking after the planet as not actually doing anything.

While politicians from Ban Ki-moon to Hilary Clinton patted themselves on the back and said, “isn’t this document wonderful” (well, not exactly in those words, but along those lines), environment activists such as Greenpeace and Tearfund said it didn’t actually set out what they are going to do.

Greenpeace were scathing in their criticism of the document;

“We didn’t get the Future We Want in Rio, because we do not have the leaders we need. The leaders of the most powerful countries supported business as usual, shamefully putting private profit before people and the planet.”

It’s like they want to be seen to be paying attention to the fact that the world’s finite resources aren’t going to last forever, but don’t actually want to do anything to change their lifestyles. It’s easy to see why Greenpeace have come to this conclusion – it takes ten pages for the document to start a bullet point with something other than a recognition or affirmation, and half-heartedly “encourage” countries to develop green policies. Yes, encourage green policies and job creation – while most of Europe imposes job cuts and austerity on the poor. I can’t really see any of them keeping to that point in the document.

Reading through the document, it’s obvious that the discussions were little more than an academic exercise for the delegates, rather than a serious attempt to actually formulate policies for sustainable development. And it makes me despair for the future that we actually want.

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