Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kathryn Ryan, interviewer extraordinaire

The interview reinforced once more what a wonderful and important organisation the UN is. What admirable work they do. Why I thought of this is because I've just finished reading Nobel peace prize winner and previous head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei's book, "The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times" in which he mentions how certain factions in the United States view the UN as merely a tool, "to be used when convenient, as a way to make U.S. driven actions more palatable to other countries, but to be discarded and circumvented when UN objectives are not in U.S. interests..."

Call Bubble by Ryanlerch, open clipart
I admire Kathryn. She runs the 9 to noon section of Radio NZ National every weekday. Every time I listen to her in depth and thoughtful questions about so many and varied topics, and unfortunately it is only when I am in the car from 9 to about 10 am once a week, I come away feeling satisfied. If the car goes through a tunnel as it does for about 5 minutes and I lose the radio waves, I feel I am missing out.

Unlike so many interviewers who pride (admire?) themselves for being hard hitting, who constantly put the interviewee on the defensive, Kathryn has no such agenda. She has no desire to draw blood but won't hesitate to ask those hard hitting questions if she feels the public have a need to know. On the whole she simply draws out the most useful information from each interview.

This is the link to her program.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

My SECOND reason is because today's interview was with Baroness Valerie Amos. Her title requires a whole line (or perhaps two) by itself -

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Never mind all those titles - Baroness plus the above - the work she does and the challenges this job entails are so much more impressive. And this is only one of many branches of the UN.

Drapeau Flag by Improulx, open clipart



The baroness oversees all emergency relief work that requires UN assistance - natural disasters like floods, volcanoes, earthquakes as well as humanitarian aid in areas of complicated conflicts around the world.

Trying to make sense of what can be a very chaotic situation, trying to keep out of political issues, trying to be safe from people who want to kill UN workers because that brings these people publicity cannot be easy. When thousands of NGOs turn up, bless them, knowing there are things to be done but not absolutely certain what and where exactly, wanting to help with a natural disaster or even during a conflict when so many of the country's own civil servants who would've responded under normal circumstances have had to flee or have been killed, they need some sort of guidance so their time is not wasted. Again it is the UN Emergency Relief Co-ordination plus their other international partners who try to work with them so that the people who are most desperately in need get that help. Help can be with much needed food and water, clothing, shelters, medical assistance, search and rescue, communication. The UN try to co-ordinate whatever information is available so that they know what the needs are. This co-ordination, as you can imagine is crucial.

They also deal with the national government of the country where help is needed. These governments are diverse all over the world, some very strong, with robust economies and therefore strong institutions for relief already in place and yet needing a bit of assistance from the world community because of the scale and nature of the disaster, others fragile and vulnerable, with poorly funded institutions whose people desperately need help during such emergencies. The UN respects and works closely with all.

The baroness made a special mention of the local people anywhere in the world who are always there to help their own people - so many as members of the UN. For the complete interview - as there is so much more - go to Radio NZ National.

Note: Even as I wrote this post Christchurch felt more devastating aftershocks on the 13th of June, 2011. To have to face more flooding, liquifaction, to start tidying up all over again - some people were so despondent it was heart breaking. Yet others - especially school principals - said they would simply have to step up once more and tidy up - get on with it. Here's an important site that lets us know about  resources available as well as where we can donate. http://www.radionz.co.nz/specialfeatures/canterbury_earthquake_resources 

23Jun2011 - According to "One News" today is the day of reckoning. Which areas of the city will be abandoned and the compensation to be offered to home owners will be announced by the PM. Such an emotional time for people who want to stay, don't want to stay or don't have an option but to stay.

 The link again:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

Link to the United Nations:

http://www.un.org/




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