Latest Developments, November 7

In the latest news and analysis…

Historic votes
In addition to news of Barack Obama’s re-election to a second term as US president, the Associated Press reports that Maine and Maryland voted in favour of allowing gay marriage, and Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana:

“The outcome in Maine and Maryland broke a 32-state streak, dating back to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it.

The marijuana measures in Colorado and Washington set up a showdown with the federal government, which outlaws the drug.

The Washington measure was notable for its sponsors and supporters, who ranged from public health experts and wealthy high-tech executives to two of the Justice Department’s top former officials in Seattle, U.S. Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer.”

Observers threatened
KPBS reports that international election observers were told by state government officials to “stay away from polling sites” in Texas and Arizona:

“Texas election officials are threatening the observers with arrest if they show up at the polls.
For the last decade the United Nations-affiliated Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has directly observed elections in the United States — but not this Election Day in Texas or Arizona.”

Beyond ECOWAS
Agence France-Presse reports that non-African troops may take part in attempts to recapture northern Mali from armed groups:

“ ‘If African heads of state agree, there will be non-African troops on the ground to help Mali win back its territory,’ an African official taking part in the meeting of international experts told AFP on the last day of the conference.

He said that the number of troops sent into Mali by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ‘could reach 4,000 instead of the planned 3,000’ and would be spread throughout the country.

The Bamako conference was attended by experts from ECOWAS, the European Union, African Union, United Nations and Algeria, who are helping Mali draw up a plan to be presented to the UN on November 26.
Another delegate told AFP that the UN is expected to finance the bulk of the military operation.”

Internationalized minds
The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie makes the case for “global public spending” to replace the current model of international aid:

“As important as any inevitably fraught architectural decisions is the communications value of this concept – the general public in all countries, rich, middle-income and poor, should quickly grasp and appreciate the idea of global public spending reversing the antagonism to ‘aid’. National public spending is widely accepted – only the most die-hard anti-statists oppose social safety nets for the poorest people, investment in research for new technologies, conservation, policing and so on. In a globalising world, it is only logical that we take that theory one step further.
Just as individual contributions are the price of living in a civilised society, so national contributions to the global pot could be the price of living in a prosperous and sustainable world.
The very reason that this vision is hard to achieve is what makes it so progressive and exciting. This way of thinking will only work insofar as human beings are able to internationalise their minds and think on a truly global, horizontal level, the project of progressives for centuries. This is a truly radical perspective, implying a kind of internationalism that is still only developing.”

Protection racket
The Guardian’s Seumas Milne questions the sincerity of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s professed support for Arab democracy, given his current “trip to sell weapons to Gulf dictators”:

“Cameron went to the Gulf as a salesman for BAE Systems – the private arms corporation that makes Typhoon jets – drumming up business from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as smoothing ruffled feathers over British and European parliamentary criticism of their human rights records on behalf of BP and other companies.

This is effectively a mafia-style protection racket, in which Gulf regimes use oil wealth their families have commandeered to buy equipment from western firms they will never use. The companies pay huge kickbacks to the relevant princelings, while a revolving door of political corruption provides lucrative employment for former defence ministers, officials and generals with the arms corporations they secured contracts for in office.”

Planeloads of cash
Reuters reports that Guinea’s government is accusing mining firm BSG Resources of “flying in cash” in order to gain access to a major iron ore deposit:

“Guinea’s government has asked BSG Resources and its partners to respond to the accusations in the report, put together by a government technical committee. If the responses are not satisfactory, it could put their permits at risk, a source at Guinea’s mines ministry said.

‘During the period of the military regime in Guinea from 2009 to 2010, BSGR was engaged in a strategy to improve its relations with decision-makers by making regular payments to high military figures,’ the report said.
‘These payments were often distributed in cash, carried into the country in BSGR’s private jet,’ it said.”

Environment Conflict Day
The UN marked its annual International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict:

“Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war. Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage.”

Ultimate control
ECONorthwest’s Ann Hollingshead argues that the best way rich countries can help poor ones achieve the Millennium Development Goals in tough economic times is to promote “domestic resource mobilization” by cracking down on illicit financial flows:

“Most people would likely agree that the optimal, most sustainable way to lift developing countries out of poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals is to help them help themselves. When it comes to the transparency initiatives I outlined above, while they are the ones most hurt by harmful financial practices, it is not the developing countries that have the ultimate control over their implementation. Participation from developed countries will make or break the effort.”

Latest Developments, November 2

In the latest news and analysis…

Development’s holy grail
The Guardian provides an explainer on the post-2015 development agenda, including a warning of the tension inherent in trying to establish Sustainable Development Goals:

“ ‘Getting rid of poverty is about making more stuff and giving it to more people,’ said Claire Melamed, head of growth and equity at the Overseas Development Institute thinktank. ‘It’s a popular thing to do, but climate change is about sharing out limited resources. Politically it’s of a totally different order of magnitude and so contentious.’ ”

Ultimate refusal
The Canadian Press reports that Canada’s highest court has refused to hear a lawsuit brought against a mining company over a massacre in DR Congo:

“[Human rights groups] allege that Anvil, which opened an office in Quebec in 2005, provided logistical support to the Congolese military as it crushed a rebel uprising in 2004, killing as many as 100 people in the port city of Kilwa.
Last January, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling in favour of the coalition, saying the complaint should be heard in Congo or Australia, where Anvil also operated.

‘It is unacceptable that in 2012, victims are still unable to hold Canadian companies accountable in Canadian courts, for their alleged involvement in serious human rights violations committed abroad,’ said Matt Eisenbrandt, a member of the board of directors of the group.”

Betting against forests
Global Witness has released a new report accusing banking giant HSBC of making $130 million from financing logging companies “causing widespread environmental destruction and human rights abuses” in the Malaysian state of Sarawak:

“Sarawak’s logging giants, all past or present HSBC clients, have since expanded their destructive model of business to every major tropical forested region in the world. These companies are currently logging or converting forests to plantations in 18 million hectares of concessions – an area three times the size of Norway.
‘HSBC has bankrolled some of the world’s worst logging companies and in some cases got them off the ground with their first commercial loans. The destruction they have caused simply couldn’t have happened without the services and kudos the bank provided,’ said Tom Picken, Global Witness Forest Campaign leader.”

Chocolate lawsuit
Reuters reports that an American pension fund is suing US chocolate giant Hershey to obtain records indicating whether “the candymaker knew its suppliers in Ghana and Ivory Coast used child labor”:

“A 2011 study by Tulane University found that 1.8 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana work in the cocoa industry and that the vast majority of them are unpaid. The study also found evidence of child-trafficking, forced labor and other violations of internationally accepted labor practices.
If the court forces Hershey to turn over the documents, the pension fund could look for evidence to bring a lawsuit against the company and its directors. With evidence, the fund said it could claim Hershey violated anti-trafficking laws and knowingly benefited from a supplier using child labor.”

Mali drones
Algeria’s Le Matin picks up on a report by French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné that the US is considering sending armed drones into northern Mali: 

“The CIA urgently wants to acquire about 10 drones equipped with bombs, missiles and rockets, according to the satirical French paper that obtained the information from French intelligence sources. The US deems the 20 or so small surveillance planes currently stationed in Burkina Faso to be insufficient. They want lethal machines like the ones that operate in Pakistan and Yemen, in spite of the known consequences: from 2004 to 2012, these drones killed 3,325 people, including 176 children, according to a study conducted by two American universities.” [Translated from the French.]

Doing less
Bill Morton, an analyst who has worked for Oxfam and the North-South Institute, calls on Western-based NGOs to consider “adopting a ‘do nothing for now’ approach” to the debate over the successors to the Millennium Development Goals:

“The large majority of proposals on the next MDGs are put forward by people and institutions based in developed countries. So far, thinking and proposals that emanate from developing countries, and that reflect the interests and priorities of people in these countries, are getting relatively limited traction in policy debates and discussions.

That’s why now is the right time for practitioners and analysts in developed countries to take a step back, and to make room for people in developing countries to advance their own thinking on a post-2015 framework. That doesn’t mean the existing thinking isn’t worthwhile. It’s just that there is enough of it for now. It’s fair enough that we loosen our grip on the post-2015 agenda a little, and give those who it will affect most the opportunity to shape it more strongly.”

Two steps back
Inter Press Service reports on concerns that so-called agricultural development “will actually compromise the country’s food security” by pushing smallholder farmers off their land in favour of large-scale agribusiness:

“[Pretorious] Nkhata and the other farmers displaced from the 46,876 hectares of now commercial farmland told IPS that they had obtained their land from a traditional leader but did not get deeds of ownership from the government.
‘They said we were squatters, we were intruders on that land. I had 21 hectares … I lost it all…
‘They (the South African agribusiness) came with guns and threatened to shoot anyone who resisted moving out. They burnt all our household properties without any notice. We were almost 200 households. They burnt my food barns, clothes, blankets, bedding, television set – they even burnt my fields,’ he said.
The agribusiness has since sold the land and closed its operations in Zambia.”

Green costs
Reuters reports that Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal has opted to reduce its annual South African steel output by 1 million tons rather than greenify its furnaces:

“The steelmaker, Africa’s biggest, was given until October 16 to deal with emissions from the furnaces and decided it was cheaper to shut the units rather than complete a project on a dust-extraction system that would capture the emissions.”

Latest Developments, November 1

In the latest news and analysis…

Base talks
Radio France Internationale reports that negotiations are underway over where foreign troops will be based for a looming military intervention in Mali:

“Time and again, Mali declared there was no need for foreign troops in Bamako to secure institutions, but those troops were welcome in the North to fight Islamist forces. To which the international community responded there was no way its troops would go directly to the North, straight into the lion’s den.
Both sides have softened their position and in the end, the following solution is taking shape: foreign headquarters could be located in Koulikoro, 50km from Bamako. But Bamako’s airport will be the hub for aerial operations.” [Translated from the French.]

Ocean grabbing
The UN’s right to food expert has urged world governments to “take urgent steps to protect, sustain, and share the benefits” of fisheries and oceans:

“ ‘“Ocean-grabbing” – in the shape of shady access agreements that harm small-scale fishers, unreported catch, incursions into protected waters, and the diversion of resources away from local populations – can be as serious a threat as “land-grabbing,”’ [Olivier] De Schutter said as he unveiled a new report on fisheries and the right to food.

The UN expert called on governments to rethink the models of fisheries that they support, highlighting that small-scale fishers actually catch more fish per gallon of fuel than industrial fleets, and discard fewer fish. ‘Industrial fishing in far-flung waters may seem like the economic option, but only because fleets are able to pocket major subsidies while externalizing the costs of over-fishing and resource degradation. Future generations will pay the price when the oceans run dry,’ he said.”

Young adults
Reuters reports that Argentina’s lower house has voted 131 to 2 in favour of lowering the country’s voting age from 18 to 16:

“Skeptics say the new law is aimed at drumming up support for the president before legislative elections scheduled a year from now. Supporters say the measure aims to bring Argentina in line with progressive countries such as Ecuador and Brazil that have already extended voting right to people as young as 16.
[President Cristina] Fernandez-allied lower house member Diana Conti said the bill ‘is neither opportunistic nor demagogic,’ but rather seeks ‘to widen the electoral base of our democracy.’

More than a million new voters are estimated to be eligible to cast ballots now that the bill has passed both houses. The Senate approved the measure earlier this month.”

MDG blind spot
A new Save the Children report argues that the successors to the Millennium Development Goals must include a global strategy for tackling inequality, not just extreme deprivation:

“Consideration of how to tackle capital flight and to strengthen domestic taxation measures will be key to increasing domestic revenues. It is now widely accepted that illicit financial outflows (dominated by corporate tax evasion) dwarf receipts of aid.
Progressive taxation plays a critical role in raising revenues to fund social protection mechanisms and universal access to basic services, and also in establishing the social contract between states and citizens upon which effective political representation and accountability depend.
A major issue for the post-2015 framework is to what extent it should emphasise both domestic budgetary transparency and the international financial transparency between states that is necessary to combat illicit flows.”

Strangelovian world
The Environmental Defense Fund’s Gernot Wagner calls for scientific and governance measures to be taken now in preparation for the inevitable turn to geoengineering as a quick, cheap fix against climate change:

“Imagine a country badly hit by adverse climate changes: India’s crops are wilting; China’s rivers are drying up. Millions of people are suffering. What government, under such circumstances, would not feel justified in taking drastic action, even in defiance of world opinion?
Once we reach that tipping point, there won’t be time to reverse warming by pursuing collective strategies to move the world onto a more sustainable growth path. Instead, speed will be of the essence, which will mean trying untested and largely hypothetical techniques like mimicking volcanoes and putting sulfur particles in the stratosphere to create an artificial shield from the sun.
That artificial sunscreen may well cool the earth. But what else might it do? Floods somewhere, droughts in other places, and a host of unknown and largely unknowable effects in between. That’s the scary prospect. And we’d be experimenting on a planetary scale, in warp speed.”

Dirty Money
Deutsche Welle reports that there were more money laundering cases in Germany last year than at any time since the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act came into effect in 1993:

“An especially clever trick is to legalize dirty money by running it past insolvency proceedings. Lately, it’s not only commodities that are exchanged, but services between larger networks of companies which are difficult to control. Even the trade of CO2 emission certificates is now being used as a means for money laundering.
Yet another problem arises when illegally acquired money is transfered to non-involved third parties to circumvent confiscation. In 2010, the authorities succeeded in only 150 out of 600 preliminary proceedings on this front.According to a study published by the Tax Justice Network that examined 70 countries, Germany is one of the biggest havens for tax evasion – ranking even before Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg or Jersey.”

Contentious project
Le Soleil reports that an Australian-owned mining project in Senegal is proving rather unpopular with the local population:

“Come to see how things are coming along for Grande Côte Opérations, a company specialized in the extraction and separation of sand, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, was greeted, along with his delegation, by angry crowds, demanding more participation in the project. According to the spokesman for the youth of Diogo, Mansour Diop, the protesters want more jobs and a better handling of compensation for their ancestral lands which have been given over to the company.
In their view, the rate of compensation has been too low. Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye said he was sympathetic to the claims of people who have seen their agricultural land expropriated by this large-scale project.” [Translated from the French.]

Latest Developments, October 31

In the latest news and analysis…

European intervention
Reuters reports that the European Union is mulling sending “about 200 troops” to Mali for training, not combat, purposes:

“EU leaders said at a summit on Oct. 19 that the Mali crisis was an ‘immediate threat’ to Europe. Foreign ministers had called four days earlier for the EU diplomatic service to draw up a plan to help Mali’s military.
Three such plans have been under consideration, said an EU official: help only with training; training plus reform of the army’s structure; or both of these, plus mentoring.
The third scenario envisaged sending EU troops into combat with Malian troops. But member states are not willing to risk sending their troops into combat, said the official.”

Uranium dispute
The Maravi Post reports that community tensions are growing over an Australian-owned uranium mine in Malawi:

“ ‘Business people in Karonga are not benefiting according to plan. Now they are importing simple things like foodstuffs from foreign companies saying that our things are expensive. Are they serious? How can that be? How can they be importing tomatoes, rice and fish, things the people of Malawi can easily supply?,’ charged [Karonga Business  Community chairperson Wavisanga] Silungwe.
On his part, Karonga Youth for Justice and Development publicity secretary, Stevenson Simusokwe, said that they were representing the people of Karonga, but in real sense the whole country and asked all Malawians to support their cause.
He said that they would block the road that leads to Kayerekera Uranium Mine so that no uranium and foreign foodstuffs go through to frustrate the miners so that they can consider changing their ‘stupid attitude towards the locals.’ ”

America’s third war
Foreign Policy’s Micah Zenko writes that this week marks the 10th anniversary of “the campaign of targeted killings in non-battlefield settings” which has accompanied declared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

“Targeted killings have exacted a considerable toll, far beyond what anyone imagined in the immediate post-9/11 era. Although the publicly available numbers vary among research organizations, an estimated 3,400 people have been killed — 13 percent of whom were civilians.

Some claim these figures are too high, and others too low. The truth is that nobody knows.
Despite the immense death toll, it is important to mention this is also the most one-sided war in U.S. history: 3,400 suspected adversaries and civilians to zero (Americans). No U.S. government employee has directly lost his or her life in all of the known targeted killing operations.”

A different world
The Overseas Development Institute’s Claire Melamed argues that agreeing on successors to the Millennium Development Goals will be far more difficult than establishing the original poverty-eliminating benchmarks was in 2000:

“The MDGs were cooked up by a group of rich countries sitting in a room and deciding how they wanted to spend their aid to help poor countries (I exaggerate slightly, but not much). The panel that [UK Prime Minister David] Cameron is co-chairing won’t be like that; there are a lot of different interests at stake, and everyone will want their say when they meet in London this week.
Most poverty is now in middle-income countries, many of which are themselves donors. They’re not going to take kindly to any hint of the big rich countries – like the UK, for example – trying to push them around or tell them what to do within their own borders. And many countries, including some of the poorest, are quite reasonably saying that the rich world has a lot more to do than hand over a bit of cash if poverty is to be ended in a way that doesn’t destroy the planet. This isn’t just about the usual list of aid, trade and debt relief (though that would be a start).”

Semi-transparency
Christian Aid’s Eric Gutierrez writes that the UK government’s commitment to transparency does not seem to extend to the beneficial ownership of companies, country-by-country reporting or open contracting:

“Transparency reforms such as these are politically difficult, but in the longer term they may unlock the cash needed to improve public services across the world.
The Tax Justice Network has pointed out that £13trillion-£21trillion in untaxed private wealth is sloshing around the global financial system, hidden in tax havens. The sums are staggering: £20tn deposited in banks earn about 5% interest a year, or £1tn.
If governments could tax just this interest income at 25%, it would raise revenues of £250bn each year – enough to pay for the millennium development goals, stabilise food prices, create jobs, resolve the global financial crisis – and so on. Christian Aid’s own calculations show that developing countries lose about £100bn a year to tax dodging by multinational corporations alone.”

European breakdown
The Open Society Foundations’ George Soros writes that his plan to establish “solidarity houses” in Greece was inspired by his memories of Europe during World War II:

“The asylum policy of the European Union has broken down and the treatment of migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups in Europe in the midst of financial and political crisis is an issue of ongoing concern. In Greece, and elsewhere, far-right parties campaigning on anti-migrant policies have grown in popularity.
The plan to create community centers will not be the ultimate solution. We will continue to pursue long-term solutions to the crisis in the European Union but the short-term need of the most vulnerable is too great to ignore. This has to be a European project and eventually it must find its way into the European budget.”

Trade not aid
The University of London’s Simon Reid-Henry lays out his view of the neoliberal development theories that came to prominence in the 1980s and remain “alive and well in the halls of economic and political power today”:

“In terms of development policy, neoliberalism often boiled down to the belief that an intensified globalisation was itself development, the two being inseparable sides of the same virtuous coin. Hence, instead of seeing that poor countries would be best served through appropriate targeted policies (limiting domestic vulnerability to the global market through protectionist measures like tariffs, say, as South Korea was doing), neoliberals claimed that – since global free markets were both the means and the desired end of development – the only viable object of development policy was to do whatever necessary to make local markets and societies ‘fit’ with the new global imperatives that the rich world’s drive to internationalisation was bringing into focus.”

Latest Developments, September 28

In the latest news and analysis…

Dodd-Frank setback
The New York Times reports that a US judge has struck down a rule aimed at imposing restrictions on speculative commodities trading:

“The court decision dealt the latest blow to the Dodd-Frank Act, the regulatory crackdown passed in response to the financial crisis. The decision on Friday, aimed at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s so-called position limits rule, is the second time a Dodd-Frank rule has suffered legal defeat.

The ruling is sure to embolden Wall Street as it shifts the attack on Dodd-Frank from piecemeal lobbying to broader legal challenges. Industry groups are currently challenging another C.F.T.C. rule, while others are weighing lawsuits against the so-called Volcker Rule, a still-uncompleted plan to stop banks from trading with their own money.”

Enemy of the state
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the US military has added Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange to a list of national enemies that include al-Qaeda and the Taliban:

“Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with ‘communicating with the enemy’, a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.” 

Defunct land grab
The Oakland Institute examines the consequences in Tanzania of an 8,211-hectare biofuel project whose British developer went bankrupt:

“People have lost their land and their supply of fresh water as well as access to essential natural resources, while the promises of development and better life never materialized. In 2011, what was left of Sun Biofuels was acquired by 30 Degrees East, an investment company registered in the tax haven of Mauritius. At the time of our field research, the project had not resumed. The new company only employed 35 staff, mostly security guards, who ban villagers from accessing their land and natural resources.”

False revolution
Friends of the Earth warns that the Gates Foundation is promoting “damaging industrial farming” in Africa:

“Multi-million dollar investments from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – a major Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa donor – into shares in biotech corporations, and revolving doors between donors and these corporations skew the agenda of AGRA in favor of profit-based, corporate-led farming rather than farming that benefits local people and small farmers.
The bulk of projects funded by the Gates Foundation and its brainchild AGRA favor technological solutions for high-input industrial farming methods. These include patented seeds, fertilizers and lobbying for genetically modified crops. Evidence from the roll-out of genetically modified crops in other countries shows that these crops push farmers into debt, cause irreversible environmental damage and encourage land concentration.”

Transparent ownership
Save the Children’s Alex Cobham suggests the “post-2015 development framework” that will replace the Millenium Development Goals should include greater transparency regarding the beneficial ownership of companies:

“The Norwegian presidential commission on tax havens presented considerable evidence on the links between developing countries and havens, pulling out link after link that threatens development and revolving around the hiding of ownership – whether for purposes of facilitating corrupt payments, trade mispricing to dodge tax, or money laundering. In addition, the commission set out a model of how governance in a country could be broadly undermined by greater exposure to tax havens.
Because the key to havens is not in fact tax rates but secrecy, I prefer the term ‘secrecy jurisdiction’. Ultimately, it is the hiding of ownership that havens facilitate which undermines regulation and taxation around the world – not any tax competition they may engender.”

Drone development
Citing a new investigation into the civilian impacts of US drone strikes in Pakistan, New York University’s William Easterly questions his government’s claim that defense and development are “complementary”:

“It would be hard for Development to benefit from “drones hovering 24 hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.”
The report alleges that drones strike areas multiple times, killing rescuers of victims of the first strike.
Next challenge in US: getting people to care about this.”

Workers’ rights
Human Rights Watch reports that one of the world’s biggest auditing firms has warned that companies involved in an Emirati mega-development must ensure workers’ rights are being respected:

“The government-owned developer of Abu Dhabi’s high-profile Saadiyat Island project, the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), faces ‘significant challenges’ to carry out agreed-upon minimum labor standards, says the September 23, 2012 report published by independent auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Saadiyat Island will be home to branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim Museums and a New York University (NYU) campus, and has been the focus of criticismover migrant workers’ rights.

The 34-page report detailed a range of ongoing violations of the [Employment Practices Policy] and domestic labor law. It says that 75 percent of workers interviewed had paid recruitment fees and 77 percent had paid visa and travel costs, which are supposed to be paid by employers. According to Human Rights Watch’s research, these recruitment fees are the most significant factor in creating conditions of forced labor in the UAE. Twenty percent of those interviewed reported illegal deductions from their salaries.”

Nuclear pressure
Inter Press Service reports that 50 years on from the Cuban Missile Crisis, the international community is pushing the world’s nuclear-armed countries to ratify a ban on testing nuclear weapons:

“Opened for signature in September 1996, the [Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Teaty] has been signed by 183 nations and ratified by 157. However, it cannot be enforced without ratification by 44 countries that had nuclear power or research reactors when the CTBT was negotiated.
Most of those nations have ratified the treaty, but the United States, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, and Egypt remain unwilling to do so. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama declared his intention to seek Senate reconsideration of the treaty. The administration has given no firm timeframe for action.”