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Global Humanitarian Forum, Kofi Annan

Citizen Annan back to save the world

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By —— Bio and Archives October 15, 2007

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imageFormer United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is back on a yet another mission to save the world.  This chapter could be called “Citizen Annan Saves The World.

  On Wednesday Annan will launch the Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva. 

  “Its mission is to foster dialogue and partnerships that strengthen the international community’s ability to address current and future humanitarian challenges,” Annan wrote in a Special Toronto Globe and Mail Update today.  “The forum will urge effective action to protect people who are most vulnerable and in need of help.”

“In its first phase of existence, the forum will focus on the adverse humanitarian consequences of climate change.  It will seek to provide an impartial and inclusive platform where decision-makers can break through the current barriers to adaptation and work together to search for solutions; where scientists and economists can meet with leaders of communities that are already trying to adapt to a changing climate; and where we can better harness the business community’s ability to work for the common good.”

According to Annan, “The scale and impact of climate change require unprecedented collaboration.  Now is the time to act.”

In recent years, under his leadership, promised big things for climate change.

Only five years ago, the children of Africa were described by the London Sun as the single defining moment of failed UN Earth Summits.

That was in the summer of 2002 when “Desperate kids in nearby shanty towns were queuing up for water at standpipes.”

“While thousands of UN delegates were gorging themselves on “buckets of caviar”, lobster and filet mignon, South Africans, many of them children, were starving in slums just a few miles away.”

There were some 60,000 Earth Summit delegates from 182 countries at the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development.

“Let the record show that for all of their rhetoric and hype not too many of them fall into the sincere category of a Mother Theresa,” Canada Free Press wrote on Sept. 2, 2002.

The UN had had dispatched a paper mountain of communiques talking about saving the poor and the environment in Johannesburg, but their $53-million extravaganza was a bust from its opening ceremonies.

While the delegates downed some 80,000 bottles of mineral water during the conference, children waiting in line for water at standpipes provided a stark contrast.

Special prostitutes for delegates were even part of the Johannesburg gathering.

Some of the same players gathered again in Davos Switzerland for the January 2005 World Economic Forum.

They were joined by Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

“Millions of children die in Africa who shouldn’t die, who it would be very easy to save,” Gates said.  “The fact that we don’t apply the resources to the known cures or to finding better cures is really the most scandalous issue of our time,” said Gates.

Gates had pledged $750-million to support immunizations programs in developing countries.  Problem is the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), which the Microsoft billionaire helped set up, leans heavily on UN agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.  It is these very organizations that keep the children of third world countries from the relief of DEET-based products as protection against deadly malaria.

Among 10.5 million children under age five who died in 2002—1.4 million died from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines.

Annan, set to tackle climate change on Wednesday asks, “How will millions of people in Africa and Asia be affected by changing monsoon seasons?

“How will the poor cope with more frequent and intense droughts and floods?

“How will the weakest survive more agonizing heat waves and violent tropical storms?  How can we diffuse the tensions that are likely to erupt as food and water shortages worsen?  What are the security implications of the mass migrations predicted by many experts?

“Should we start identifying safe land for coastal insular populations? How can the latest advances in agriculture and water harvesting be made available to those most in need?”

These are global dilemmas that five years after Johannesburg get more rhetoric than action.

Meanwhile, the global media should wait for substance before helping Citizen Annan tout his Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva.


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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh,, Drudge Report,

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