Just call him Two-Term Tony.
The United Nations Security Council has recommended António Guterres for a second five-year term as U.N. secretary-general. U.N. Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric called the endorsement a “great honor indeed,” but others scorned the election race that never really was — Guterres being the only official contender for the job, despite others (including former U.N. staffer Arora Akanksha) trying to throw their hats in the ring.
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The General Assembly is set to vote next week to most likely officially approve Guterres. This marks the earliest point in the year the Security Council has recommended an incumbent SG for the job.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth called for the former Portuguese PM to be tougher on human rights violations by China, Russia, and the United States in his second term. Meanwhile, U.N. expert Richard Gowan predicted more of the same.
Dujarric said Tuesday that Guterres’ “defense of people and planet will continue,” and encouraged people to “watch what he says and watch what he does.” He declined to comment on possible personnel changes, including selecting a new deputy SG to replace Amina Mohammed.
“We have an opportunity right now to do the right thing to help save lives, to do the smart thing in terms of our national security, and to check the rise of the communist party of China,” Republican John Kennedy told a Senate appropriations hearing Tuesday. That is: scale-up and prioritize global COVID-19 vaccine access.
“I’m not talking about 20 million doses here, 10 million there,” the Louisiana senator said, adding that there would be bipartisan congressional support to fund a bigger effort.
The U.S. has committed to donating at least 80 million doses of vaccine by the end of June and has committed $4 billion to COVAX, the global vaccine equity initiative.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s response to Kennedy: “Stay tuned.”
Meanwhile, the Mastercard Foundation announced Tuesday that it will deploy $1.3 billion to help the African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention vaccinate millions of Africans and assist with the continent’s economic recovery over the next three years.
Thinkin’ about EU
The European Parliament will adopt its final position on the EU’s 2021-2027 development regulation today, following a plenary debate last night.
Earlier this week, Jutta Urpilainen, the commissioner for development policy, told reporters that some EU delegations around the world have been too “passive” when it comes to the need to consult local authorities and civil society on how to spend the seven-year €79.5 billion budget.
War of words
“It is precisely because the government fears they would lose that they aren’t calling [a vote]. That is not democracy. When countries behave like that in Africa, we British, we say they’ve got it wrong.”— Andrew Mitchell, U.K. Conservative MP
Mitchell was one of more than 70 speakers during a debate last night over whether the U.K. Parliament will get a vote on the government’s decision to sharply reduce the country’s aid budget, which defenders of the prime minister say is necessary due to the economic devastation of COVID-19.
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Let’s hope the world can avoid another internet outage today. While hacking isn’t thought to be responsible for that — or for yesterday’s “watermelons on Mars” debacle — catch up on our recent look at cybersecurity in global development if it’s all making you nervous.
In other news
World Bank chief David Malpass does not support waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines, saying it could impede innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. [Reuters]
A U.N. special rapporteur in Myanmar has warned of the threat of mass starvation to the displaced population in Kayah State, following violent clashes that have displaced an estimated 100,000 people. [Al Jazeera]
The World Bank's global economic report forecasts a rapid recovery from recession, but warns many low-income countries will be left behind due to slow vaccine rollout. [The Guardian]
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