This Week in the World of Conflict… November 29th-December 5th, 2011

  • The Global Campaign for Aid Transparency released its 2011 Pilot Aid Transparency Index that highlights the shortcomings of international aid in an effort to make it more transparent.
  • Friday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We can only hope for a day when armed groups no longer use systemic sexual violence as a tactic of terror.
  • An attempt by the US, Russia, China, India, Israel and a few other nations to weaken the comprehensive ban on cluster munitions has failed. The countries tried to cut a deal in which they would ban cluster munitions produced before 1980 but be given specific legal authorization to use all other munitions. More than 50 states said there was no consensus for adopting the weakened protocol.
  • Nations will gather in Durban, South Africa on Monday in an attempt to hammer out a future climate agreement. A growing number of nations are apparently willing to delay climate-treaty negotiations until 2015, meaning that a new binding treaty could not be finalized until 2020 and would not take effect until years later. Saturday was Occupy the Climate or Global Day of Action on Climate Change in several cities around the globe, and thousands took to the street in Durban calling for climate justice.
  • December 5th was the 10th annual International Volunteer Day, a day to say thank you to volunteers for their efforts. The UN’s latest State of the World’s Volunteerism Report shows empirical evidence of the importance and contribution of volunteerism on a global scale and highlights that increased people-to-people contacts could help to better manage communal conflicts and cross-border disputes.
  • Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda is set to be named the new International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, replacing Luis Moreno-Ocampo whose term ends next year. The successor will be formally elected by the Assembly of States Parties at the annual meeting in New York on December 12th, yet so far, Ms. Bensouda is the only candidate in the running.
  • Statistician Howard Friedman reported on the five countries with the highest military expenditure. The US leads this list, spending nearly $700 billion in 2010, or around 43% of the entire global military expenditure, nearly six times more than the amount spent by the next largest, China and more than the total spent by the next 15 largest spenders combined.
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