Posted on | May 17, 2012 by Wendy Wright |
Ban Ki-Moon made the cover of a fashion magazine. In an issue dedicated to “Rebranding Africa,” the Italian edition of Vogue magazine profiles the UN Secretary General in an interview conducted by the editor that could be mistaken for a high-school journalism paper.
Pundits speculate that Vogue focused on Africa in a scramble to quell criticism from a previous editorial that some considered racist. Haute Mess portrayed garishly adorned white women in fashions associated with black women.
It’s a mystery why Vogue did not interview an African. Ban Ki-Moon is South Korean. Instead, it implies that Africans should look to the UN for “rebranding.”
In any case, the article avoids fashion and earnestly tries to be serious by giving softball questions for the Secretary General.
As the editor gushed, “I’ve been waiting for this meeting for quite some time, and I’ve prepared myself as if it were an exam. I’ve read everything possible and I also got some information from the Internet and books.”
Ban Ki-Moon says his top priority is sustainable development. The upcoming Rio+20 Summit is the opportunity to “provide humanity with solutions for the people and the planet.”
Well, that covers everything and everyone.
What are the solutions to the world’s problems? Ban explains, “We must accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals, ensure energy access for all, provide food and nutrition security, reverse climate change, advance women’s empowerment.”
This hits all the right hot button issues. Unlike previous UN summits that focus on one particular issue, Rio+20 aspires to cover all.
Vogue didn’t ask the important question: How can the UN or Rio+20 provide solutions?
Special interest agencies and groups know how this works. They will be at Rio+20 in force. This one-stop-shop summit is a grand opportunity to get whatever they offer, their service or product, listed as a “solution” to a world problem – and to secure funding entitlements from governments.
UNFPA and Planned Parenthood are pressing delegates hard to make population control and family planning an integral part of Rio+20. Planned Parenthood argues that “fulfilling the unmet need” for their services and products will empower women, enhance human rights, increase food security and substantially slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Their solution – unsurprisingly – covers most of Rio+20’s goals.
It won’t cost much, they say. Just $3.4 billion a year.
That’s quite a windfall. UNFPA’s budget is $292 million for 2012-2013. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s budget in 2011 was $124 million.
Ban Ki-Moon is promoting Rio+20 to bolster the UN’s image as the source of solutions for the world’s problems. Others see the summit as a grab bag of “rights” and entitlements.
It will take more than the investigative skills of a fashion magazine to explain the results.