ICN2 is not a new disease, it's the bizarre acronym for the Second International Conference on Nutrition, held in Rome,  19-21 November 2014, at FAO Headquarters.  Anyone familiar with the United Nations "alphabet soup" won't be surprised. And in spite

Overfishing, climate change and hunger is what you call a "triple whammy"on the planet. You may wonder what they have in common, but at the United Nations, no one doubts that the three are dramatically inter-linked.  The point was forcefully made

Guinea-Bissau, October 1990, I don't remember which day. But I remember how it was that morning when I woke up. Hot, very hot, the way it is in the tropics, damp and cloying, with a low sky of dark clouds,

WFD, another United Nations World Day? How boring! But this one isn't. In spite of its bland name, WFD or World Food Day, it's not about cooking for foodies, masterchef techniques and filling yourself up. On the contrary, it's about fighting

My (Adventurous) Life at the United Nations: An Unexpected End to a Drafting Committee Session. 14 November 1991, 26th FAO Conference in Rome. I glance at my watch, midnight already. The delegates, thirteen in all, are sitting around the table, looking

My (Adventurous) Life at the United Nations: First Mission, Mauritania October 1980. The sky is an intense blue over Mauritania’s desert, the Land Rover bumps along, skidding from one pothole to the next. Dust permanently dries the mouth, the blazing light

In the 1990s, the political world,  the so-called "international community" could not countenance the growth of a UN agency that apparently was a sinkhole of ever-growing expenditures and seemed to have more highly-paid directors in its organigram than anyone else. FAO and

The oldest United Nations technical agency, and at one point in its chaotic history, the largest, has a bizarre name that expresses its dual personality and lack of focus from the start: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,

Sorry to disappoint, but the UN is neither. Not a beast, not a dream utopia. Too often in the news the UN is reported as if it acts autonomously, as if it is solely responsible for waging war, building peace, providing

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