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Posted on on October 24th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Padre Miguel or Nicaraguan diplomat, politician, liberation theologian and Maryknoll Catholic priest, H.E. Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, is indeed a breath of fresh air at the UN.

The Maryknoll Catholic priests from the US helped the poor of Nicaragua at the time of the US imposed dictatorship – we remember pictures of kidnaped and killed Maryknoll sisters and we remember the difficulties Latin American liberation theologians had, and still have, with the Vatican. Padre Miguel was born in the US, and was active in Nicaragua, and was bleeding for all Latin poor. Having him, a Ghandian, as President of the UN General Assembly, the nominally highest international position in the world, is indeed amazing. Nominally, the President of the General Assembly is the highest ranking UN personality, though he does not have the decision making power of a Security Council member, neither the practical, administrative power of the Secretary General. but he has at least, for one or two years, the power to decide what should be talked about at the General Assembly talking club.

To be clear about what this man stands for – openly in public – we attached his June 4, 2008, acceptance speech at the UN. We proceeded and marked with yellow the lines where he mentions the anthropogenic nature of so called natural phenomena and his attention to hunger, poverty, climate change, energy crisis, terrorism, human rights, disarmament, nuclear control, rights of women and children, preservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity. We clearly expect him not to treat those issues as individually separate issues but to make the connection and integrate the approach to the bundle of crises – exactly how they popped up to our attention in the last couple of months. We were excited back in November when a Catholic blog enthusiastically proposed Padre Miguel as Obama’s new Pastor. Who knows, there might have been a premonition here – but then let us not forget that the position of President of UNGA is for one year only – though it might be eventually extended for a second year. Nevertheless, if Obama becomes US President, he will have a good partner at the UNGA.

OK, so now Padre Miguel looked at all the crises and decided that the UN has to step in and asked Professor Joe Stiglitz to be his economist adviser and establish a panel to look at these crises. This panel is still in the making.

Then, looking at the upcoming November 29 – December 2, 2008 Doha Review Conference of the non-implementation of the so called Monterrey Consensus, that had in September 2008 already an introductory meeting here at the UN headquarters, he decided to use the “we go to Doha” idea in order to review the present bundle of crises that because of the Global Financial Crisis endangers all dealings with the other crises.

The Sarcozy suggestion to hold a global summit of the G-20 in New York on November 20, 2008, after the US Presidential elections, got deflected by President Bush to Washington DC – so it is a last hurrah for the present Administration – but this should not deter the UN to deal with the problems – if nothing else – it will UN material for the Washington meeting.

So, appointing Professor Joe Stiglitz, an adviser to Senator Obama, is also a good step in the direction of the future. To make this really inclusive he added further three known personalities: from Belgium the seat of the EU, from India – the second largest developing power of Asia, and from Ecuador – an OPEC member but fairly independent when it comes to Latin America issues.   Though nominally intent to deal with Financing for Development, it seems clear that global finances, hunger and the MDGs, and climate change will be topics of this day-long symposium and we look forward to the event.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Priest & President of the U.N.?


Rev. Miguel d’Escoto-Brockmann, born in Los Angeles on February 5, 1933, is a Nicaraguan diplomat, politician, liberation theologian and Maryknoll Catholic priest.

He was just elected President of the United Nations General Assembly; his one year term at that post will begin in September 2008. He will preside over the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Quotes from Brockmann:

“They elected a priest. And I hope no one is offended if I say that love is what is most needed in this world. And that selfishness is what has gotten us into the terrible quagmire in which the world is sinking, almost irreversibly, unless something big happens. This may sound like a sermon. Well, OK.”

Ronald Reagan is “the butcher of my (Nicaraguan) people”

“Because of Reagan and his spiritual heir George W. Bush, the world today is far less safe and secure than it has ever been.”

Perhaps Obama has found his new pastor?

O tempora, O mores!





The General Assembly, in its resolution 62/187 of 19 December 2007, decided that the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008.
In preparation for the Doha Review Conference, the General Assembly held, from February to June 2008, review sessions on the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus and interactive hearings with representatives of civil society and the business sector. The President of the General Assembly issued informal summaries of the review sessions and circulated, on 28 July 2008, a draft outcome document of the Conference.
The General Assembly held, on 8 – 10 September and 19 September 2008, the first round of informal consultations on the draft outcome document of the Doha Conference. The Assembly will continue consultations on the Doha outcome document in October – November 2008.





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