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Ian Richards

Head of the UN staff union in Geneva

Ian Richards is a development economist at the United Nations, from the UK and Sri Lanka. He blogs in his capacity as a staff representative, on the many challenges the UN faces around the world as it seeks to reform itself and deliver more on what member states ask of it.

UN Workers on the Frontline Against Extremism in Iraq

"Father, how far are they from Baghdad?" asks Husam's 14 year-old son as he sees the military helicopters fly overhead, bringing the injured back from battle. It's a question that makes him very uncomfortable. The "they" is the ISIS, otherwise known as Daash or Islamic State, and reputed to have already infiltrated the Iraqi capital with sleeper cells. Husam could leave. Like other UN staff he's been offered evacuation. And having seen fellow workers lose members of their families and having had to three times repair his house for explosion damage, you wouldn't blame him.
21/08/2014 17:47 BST

Those Who Kill UN Staff in Gaza Must Be Held Accountable

Over the past four weeks the world has watched a humanitarian tragedy unfold in Gaza. For UN staff like me it has been particularly tough. Nine of our schools have been attacked, 11 of my colleagues have been killed. They include Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, a school principal, Inas Shaban Derbas, a 30 year-old teacher and the youngest, Abdallah Naser Khalil Fahajan, who at 21 was a school attendant. UN chief, secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called the most recent attack on Sunday, which took place next to a boys' prep school in Rafah and led to nine deaths including that of a colleague: "a moral outrage and a criminal act."
06/08/2014 17:23 BST

The UN Wants to Eradicate Extreme Poverty by 2030 - Let's Make Sure It's Up to the Task

Ending extreme poverty or getting an agreement to reduce climate change means creating complex trade-offs between the interests of countries, companies and citizens and civil society. It involves detailed forecasts, legal texts and new ideas that will galvanise negotiators to agreement. It means putting the UN back in a position of international leadership.
22/07/2014 17:18 BST