Welcome to the IGO Watch Monthly Newsletter for September
It’s been a busy September for IGO Watch as thousands of government officials, IGO representatives, members of the media and NGOs around the world gathered in New York to kick-off the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. This multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded event includes hundreds of meetings, sessions, and proceedings. More importantly, the General Assembly is the place where the UN gets to decide how much money each member state’s taxpayers must pay to run the organization. And there is no denying that the UN is great at hosting numerous expensive and overcrowded conferences using the money of taxpayers around the globe. IGO Watch has been closely following the General Assembly and will continue to report on all major activities and decisions.
The Circus Is In Town
Tensions around the participation of Venezuela have been running high even before the General Assembly started. According to multiple reports, the brutal regime of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro was running for a 2020-2022 seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and no one was opposing his controversial candidacy. At the same time, Venezuela’s opposition hinted at seeking a plan for the United Nation to prevent a Canadian mining company from recouping its losses after its assets were stolen by the regime, with devastating consequences for property rights.
The UN Human Rights Council also shamefully adopted a resolution praising Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, which was sponsored by Iran and written by Maduro’s regime. Praising dictators and authoritarian regimes is not something the UN shies away from. Just a few weeks ago, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the legacy of Robert Mugabe, a dictator who presided over the complete and total collapse of Zimbabwe. A week later, the UN Human Rights Council chastised Hong Kong lawmaker Tanya Chan after her testimony on police brutality against protesters, with the chair saying her remarks fell outside the framework of the agenda item on “promotion and protection of all human rights.” Luckily, not all news from the UNHRC is bad as an official probe to investigate abuses by Venezuela was finally established after 8 years.
The beginning of the General Assembly was marked by overwhelming climate change hysteria, as was expected. The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he wouldn’t give the floor to any countries that refuse to buy into the UN’s catastrophic climate change predictions. Countries like Australia were barred from speaking at a UN climate summit, while China and India were free to call for trillions of dollars more in climate funding. The U.S. and Japan have also been silenced for not increasing their am\bitions to tackle climate change. Fortunately, the UN official couldn’t silence everyone, as thousands of UN employees gathered to protest the organization’s hypocrisy, demanding that the organization reduces its carbon footprint by cutting down on perks, such as business-class flights and travel allowances.
Seeing Through The Smoke
The World Health organization continued to intensify its pointless and destructive war against innovation – two leaked papers showed that the WHO is building up to an attempt to treat reduced risk products no differently to cigarettes or with even greater hostility. These decisions have nothing to do with public health, as evident from the WHO recent appraisal of India’s ban on safer alternatives to cigarettes – a country with the lowest quitting rate, where the government owns 28% of the leading cigarette manufacturer.
The WHO is known for its misguided priorities and numerous scandals. It has become an unresponsive bureaucracy more eager to praise dictators, fund lavish conferences and travel first class than help the poor and unhealthy. Take a look at just some of the WHO’s “greatest hits”.
Sky High Taxes
European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager got a new set of responsibilities and will supervise the creation and enforcement of policies on cybersecurity, big data, and taxation of digital companies. This is a clear signal that the EU intends to closely scrutinize big tech companies and their business practices, reducing innovation and driving up costs, as opposed to the sensible thing to do which would be reducing barriers for digital companies to invest in more and better services for consumers.
Digital companies are not the only ones the EU plans on heavily taxing, as we learned that the European Commission submitted a broad palette of possible methods for determining the price for climate-damaging emissions in order to collect trillions of taxpayer dollars needed in the coming fight against climate change. Unfortunately, the EU is also strongly considering taxing the aviation sector to meet its climate targets. With nearly 1.5 billion departing air passengers a year, flight taxes would cost the European consumers billions of Euros a year, and devastate the tourist sector. Our partners from the Consumer Choice Center are already fighting the EU’s proposed flight departure taxes, and here you can learn more about how you can help them.
Despite the fact that the top EU officials spent the past months making promises to step up the fight against climate change, their carbon footprint is going to become a lot bigger with the planned increase of more than €3.5 million for private jet flights.
Every month we would like to draw attention to one of our partner organizations and the great work they do! This month we would like to highlight the Center for Freedom and Prosperity! The Center fights to protect jurisdictional tax competition, fiscal sovereignty, and financial privacy from erosion by the international bureaucrats that IGOWatch was formed to expose! They do great work around the world, and we encourage all our supporters to subscribe to them and read their updates!
See Something? Say Something!
We’re always looking for regional coordinators from countries around the world to help us distribute information on social media, write blog posts and op-eds, and provide us with on-the-ground information from their region. If you have any tips about stories, or would like to become a regional coordinator, please send us an email at this address!
Until next month,
IGO Watch Team