September 2021 Issue
Ed Aguilar on the United Nations Safe Zone:

On September 19, UNA-GP will partner with the Coalition for Peace Action, Peace Day Philly, and Pennsylvania Physicians for Social Responsibility, as part of the Peace Day events centered in Philadelphia.  This timely event will speak to the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Asian Subcontinent, and the humanitarian crisis ongoing in Afghanistan.

 A twenty-year war with NATO and the United States is ending. An end to this awful war was long in coming. Negotiations are going forward among the Afghans themselves, including both the Taliban leaders, former President Hamid Karzai, and the current leader of the Afghan Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah. The success, or not, of these talks, which also have included the U.N. and many international interlocutors, will impact the future well being of the Afghan people. Pressure to maintain women's rights, education, and human rights for all is critical. 

 President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, have proposed a humanitarian Safe Zone, according to Reuters News service:
  "Our resolution proposal aims to define a safe zone in Kabul, under U.N. control, which would allow humanitarian operations to continue," Macron told the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), 8/28.

 Macron's proposal would include reopening the Kabul Airport to allow greater food, medicine and humanitarian supplies into the country, which facing shortages of food and other essentials, as well as allow the refugees and foreign nationals to leave safely. If this proposal is adopted, it can be the beginning of an international effort, led by U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to improve the conditions of the Afghan people. Turkey and Qatar have also made suggestions for how to reopen the country to international aid.

  If these do not succeed, the risks grow of civil war, including the resurgence of ISIS (now ISIS-K), and even more extremist groups. And of course Pakistan, a nuclear power, is seeking to use Afghanistan as a base in its conflict with India over Kashmir, a continuing threat.

  For a full discussion of what can be done to promote Common Security, rather than renewed warfare in the Subcontinent and around the world, join us from 2:30 to 3:45 pm on September 19th. Remember, free virtual seating is limited to the first 100 reservations. To guarantee a seat, you can click on September 19 Afghanistan, Pakistan Today and Why we Must End Nuclear Weapons, on the CFPA Website, or on Peace Day Philly 9/19 events.
See you on Sunday!
Christiaan's Thoughts:
On Polio and Politics:

Working at and with UNA-GP on issues that underscore the global citizenship that we hope all professionals start to embrace in doing their work and their living, I have had the pleasure of mentoring students and faculty at the start of their careers. That mentoring is not a one-way street and I myself have picked new venues of thought, new areas of interest, brought to me by these students. Working with Pavan Ganapathiratu, I picked up an interest in polio eradication. 

In 1848 Rudolf Virchow famously stated: “Medicine is a social science, and politics nothing but medicine at a larger scale”. As a social scientist myself, I took much motivation from Virchow’s opinion, but like to place it in a more dialectic format, in the sense of politics and the medical-industrial complex informing each other through actions, reactions, synthesis and new conflicts on the horizon. The dynamics at the WHO and in all its member nations around COVID 19 is but a very harsh reminder of that dialectic. While COVID 19 is grabbing the headlines, polio and polio eradication is redirected to the back pages, to the small WHO task forces that work on these “neglected diseases.” The taskforce on polio however had a commitment from Rotary International to keep working on eradication and pushing for funding for that. Bill and Melinda Gates, a married couple then, committed also to substantial funding. 

It’s all politics then, and we have to use political means and momentum to reach our global goals. So wrote Pavan in 2013, and published in Global Public Health, Volume 10, Issue 4, April 2015, Pages 463-473. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2014.994655. Copyright © Taylor & Francis

In 2013, polio cases were recorded in Nigeria, in the areas where Boko Haram was operational, and in Afghanistan, Pakistan and adjacent regions in India. Conflicts with a military or terrorist nature will interrupt eradication efforts and actions such as killing health workers, whether they wear a Red Cross or a Red Crescent indicates a willingness by combatants to piss on all international norms. Such as happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

However, we are seeing statistics that bode well and indicate a possible success in the work for global polio eradication. Nigeria is now officially polio free after four years of zero reported cases, making the making the whole continent of Africa polio free. And in 2021 there has been a dramatic drop in reported cases in the other two countries. What gives? Part is the tenacious work of the WHO task force, part is the unrelenting support from Rotary International, and part of it is the fact that the WHO and UNICEF quite effectively used the meeting hub of Qatar for negotiating with the Taliban. Here is section from the letter from Michael McGovern, Rotary International PolioPlus Committee Chair:

The UN Association of Greater Philadelphia Invites you to:

A Peace Day Event:
Join us!

What: Peace Day speakers on, "No First Use, and Bringing the End of Nuclear Weapons"

When: Sunday, September 19, from 2:30 - 3:30 pm.

Where: Zoom! Register in advance and get more information here:

Join us for this informative event. Learn how to help.
Upcoming Events:

Join Peace Day Philly on International Day of Peace, Tuesday, Sept. 21 for the annual Peace Day gathering with live music leading up to the global minute of silence at noon.

 This year’s global theme: Recovering Better for a sustainable and Equitable World.

Rittenhouse Square, 18h and Walnut Streets.
Masks encouraged.

See flier below...

Made Worse by COVID-19: HIV, TB, and Malaria
It’s little surprise that—like every other part of life on earth—COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions to efforts to prevent and treat HIV, TB, and malaria, as a Global Fund report released today details. The surprise is that any advances were recorded at all, given wrecked supply chains and hospitals and clinics crowded with coronavirus patients.
The Fund didn’t estimate the number of deaths resulting from the disruptions, but executive director Peter Sands told Reuters that a million fewer people were treated for TB alone. “I’m afraid that inevitably means hundreds of thousands of extra deaths,” he said.
Global Leadership Begins with Us 

The World Needs Your Voice Whether it’s standing up for human rights, eliminating extreme poverty, putting an end to human trafficking, combating climate change, or protecting refugees, the UN is working to build a brighter future by confronting the planet’s most complex challenges – but it can’t do it alone. While the UN is standing up for the world, we’re standing up for the UN. 

Becoming a Member!
Dear Friends of UNA-GP,
We hope you will join us in strengthening support for renewed US commitment to our global community. Use the link below to join the national United Nations Association, listing Philadelphia as your chapter, to help us with our work for international peace and social justice that includes us all. If you have been a participant with UNA-GP and aren't sure if your membership is up to date, this is an easy link to renew!