United Nations

The UN Year In Review 2014: From Syria to Ukraine to Ebola (Video)

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According to UNTV, “from the ongoing situation in Syria and Ukraine to the global effort to address the Ebola crisis and more, this video on the UN Year in Review 2014 recaps the events which captured the international headlines and those in forgotten corners of the world.”

In addition, this video gives a glimpse of the day-to-day work of the organization from the Climate Summit in New York to climate resilient farming project in Samoa, from airlifts to bring food to ever growing refugee camps to mobile class rooms in Sudan. Generally speaking, the UN says “conflict, disease, human rights abuses, and food insecurity combined to make 2014 a year marked by untold human misery.”

 

Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, addressed many human  rights concerns at the United Nations in 2014, including reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine. UN Photo/Armando Voisard

Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, addressed many human rights concerns at the United Nations in 2014, including reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine. UN Photo/Armando Voisard

As the United Nations gets ready to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN in 2015, it’s time to focus attention on what really happened in the year 2014 from a UN perspective,  particularly in Ukraine, which the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says “risks freezing in place with regional and global implications.”

“Most recently, on December 20, “The New York Times” reported, “Ukraine Crisis in Mind, Lithuania Establishes A Rapid-Reaction Force.”  NATO announced that this interim spearhead force would be made up of Norwegian, German, and Dutch troops.

The latest news from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko indicates that he will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Holland, and Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 15 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, for peace talks.

Besides the Ukrainian crisis, the Secretary-General stated that “2015 must be the year in which we end the  nightmare in Syria.” Top priorities at the UN include handling the never-ending humanitarian crises .

“More than l00 million people need assistance and more than 50 million people have been driven  from their homes – the most since the Second World War.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated Academy Award nominated actor and committed environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, as a Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on climate change. Pictured here is the UN Secretary-General with Leonardo Di Caprio. UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated Academy Award nominated actor and committed environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, as a Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on climate change. Pictured here is the UN Secretary-General with Leonardo Di Caprio. UN Photo/Mark Garten

And, of course, there was  the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in a year of disease, discord, and disruption. And let’s not forget about the hostilities in Gaza between the Palestinians and Israel, the human rights abuses which have taken place in South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and the rise of violent extremism in the Middle East, and other conflicts around the world, too numerous  to mention.

However, in 2014, there was positive news, too, concerning climate change. It was obvious that climate change had become a top priority at the UN and active environmentalists and celebrities such as Leonardo Di Caprio helped to give visibility to environmental concerns such as the melting of the glaciers and the need to take action.

Pictured here is a photo of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from right in a blue cap) at the People’s Climate March ahead of the September 23 Climate Summit at UN Headquarters. Shown is Segolene Royal, Minister for Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy of France, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, Al Gore, former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate, and UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Pictured here is a photo of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from right in a blue cap) at the People’s Climate March ahead of the September 23 Climate Summit at UN Headquarters. Shown is Segolene Royal, Minister for Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy of France, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, Al Gore, former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate, and UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The People’s Climate March in New York City turned out to be a huge success.  Even the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in this event, together with prominent  leaders. Following the 2014 Climate Summit held in Lima, Peru, the next UN Climate Summit will be held in Paris, France during 2015.

In 2014, UNICEF was in the spotlight at the United Nations as it celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is the most widely ratified legal agreement to protect the rights of children.   A musical celebration of the UNICEF Imagine Project was held to mark the occasion.

No, the year2014 was not all gloom and doom. Let’s face it, in the year 2014, human rights activists l7 year-old Malala  Yousafzai of Pakistan  and Kailash Satyarthi of India were awarded the Noble Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway,  and the year 2014 marked the first time the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples was held at UN Headquarters in New York.

In fact, on the opening day of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples  Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves made remarks at the exhibit on the Finno-Ugric peoples dedicated to Estonia’s internationally recognized filmmaker Lennart Meri, and former President of Estonia.

Shown here is an indigenous participant (Saami) at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held at UN Headquarters on September 22-23, 2014. UN Photo/Yobi Hoffmann

Shown here is an indigenous participant (Saami) at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held at UN Headquarters on September 22-23, 2014. UN Photo/Yobi Hoffmann

 

 

 

 

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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