After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals -- including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger -- to be reached by 2030.
The United Nations, which launched one of its most ambitious anti-poverty development programmes back in 2000, has hailed it as a riveting success story – despite shortcomings.
When the World Economic Forum (WEF) met last January in Switzerland, attended mostly by the rich and the super-rich, the London-based charity Oxfam unveiled a report with an alarming statistic: if current trends continue, the world’s richest one percent would own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth by 2016.
After six weeks in office, the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein of Jordan launched a blistering attack on member states for insufficient funding, thereby forcing operations in his office to the breaking point "in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever-more dangerous crisis."
As the 69th session of the General Assembly took off with the usual political pageantry, the United Nations will be hosting as many as seven "high-level meetings", "summits" and "special sessions" compressed into a single week - the largest number in living memory.
The United Nations is on the verge of releasing a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - perhaps 17 or more - to replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which will run out by the end of 2015.
When the United Nations began negotiating a Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations (TNCs) back in the 1970s, the proposal never got off the ground because of vigourous opposition both from the powerful business community and its Western allies.
When Clare Short, Britain's former minister for international development, revealed that British intelligence agents had spied on former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan by bugging his office just before the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the U.N. chief was furious that his discussions with world leaders had been compromised.
When the administration of President George W. Bush launched a military attack on Iraq in March 2003, it was nearly 18 months before Kofi Annan, then-U.N. secretary-general, described the invasion as "illegal" and in "violation of the U.N. charter" because the United States did not have Security Council authorisation.