Why Agenda 2030 is Set to Fail

2 September 2016: A year after the General Assembly adopted “Agenda 2030” as the global plan of action for the next 15 years the project is appearing increasingly Utopian.                    Read More

UN prepares for a world of Geospatial Information


August 2016:​  On 27 July, in a little noted decision on "Cartography," the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) made a change that will have more impact on the future of Sustainable Development than all the meetings of its High Level Political Forum          Read More


20 May 2017: Reading the draft Outcome document of the second High-Level ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (22-25 May) brings to mind Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Both are essentially tragic but shot through with the dark comedy of cant, myopia and insanity. Commenting on it makes me feel like a Tralfamadorian trying vainly to communicate impending danger to a bar filled with merry drunks. (For those who have forgotten or have never read the book, a Tralfamadorian is a two-foot alien shaped like a toilet brush and able to see the future.)

                                                                                                                                  Read More

the World's top state military spenders and corporate war profiteers 

13 May 2017: The following list reflects information published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).


                                            %GDP            Per Capita                  $ Billion                     % Increase                                                                                      $                                                                 2007-2016

  1. United States              3.3                 1886                          611                             4.8
  2. China                              1.9                   156                          215                           118
  3. Russia                             5.3                   483                          69.2                            87
  4. Saudi Arabia              10.0                 1978                          63.7                           20
  5. India                               2.5                       42                         55.9                            54
  6. France                            2.3                    862                          55.7                          2.8
  7. Britain                            1.9                    741                          48.3                           12
  8. Japan                             1.0                    365                          46.1                          2.5
  9. Germany                       1.2                    509                          41.1                          6.8
  10. South Korea                2.7                    729                          36.8                           35
  11. Italy                                1.5                     467                         27.9                           16
  12. Australia                       2.0                  1013                         24.6                           29
  13. Brazil                              1.3                   113                          23.7                           18
  14. UAE                                 5.7                 2504                          22.8                         123
  15. Israel                              5.8                 2194                          18.0                           19


Corporation                                HQ                          Arms Sales                 #Employees

                                                                                            $ Billion

  1. Lockheed Martin            USA                           36.44*                           126,000
  2. Boeing                                USA                           27.96                             `61,000
  3. BAE Systems                     UK                             25.51                               82,000
  4. Raytheon                           USA                           21.78                               61,000
  5. Northrop Grumman      USA                           20.06                               65,000
  6. General Dynamics          USA                           19.24                               99,900
  7. Airbus Group                 Europe                        12.86*                           136,500
  8. United Technologies    USA                               9.50*                          197,200
  9. Leonardo**                       Italy                              9.30                              47,160  
  10. L3 Communications      USA                              8.77                              38,000
  11. Thales                                France                          8.10                              62,190
  12. Huntington Ingalls        USA                               6.74                              35,500
  13. Almaz-Antey                   Russia                            6.62                               N/A
  14. Safran                                France                           5.02                              70,090
  15. Harris                                 USA                                4.92                               21,000

They have large non-military revenues  ** Formerly Finmeccanica


25 April 2017: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will convene an international Conference on the Artist's Resale Right in Geneva on 28 April. Meeting ahead of the next meeting of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, the conference will provide a platform for dozens of artists from all regions to express their expectations and experiences.  Read More



71st General Assembly 

The 71st session of the General Assembly that convened on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 with Ambassador  Peter Thomson of Fiji as President, suspended work on 23 December. The highlight of the session was undoubtedly the appointment of the 9th Secretary-General of the Organization, Antonio Guterres of Portugal, former High Commissioner for Refugees and Prime Minister of his country. See also column on right and here 

Dates of Assembly Debates Until 2026
The first Information document of the 71st session of the General Assembly lists the dates of annual 9-day opening debates until 2026. A/INf/71/1 of 12 January 2017 provides the following information:

72nd session opens 12 September 2017; General Debate begins 19 September
73rd session opens 18 September 2018; General Debate begins 25 September
73rd session opens 17 September 2019; General Debate begins 30 September
74th session opens 15 September 2020; General Debate begins 22 September
76th session opens 14 September 2021; General Debate begins 21 September
77th session opens 13 September 2022; General Debate begins 20 September
78th session opens 12 September 2023; General Debate begins 25 September
79th session begins 17 September 2024; General Debate begins 24 September
80th session opens 16 September 2025; General Debate begins 23 September
81st session opens 15 September 2026; General Debate begins 22 September


  • There are two-day “high-level political forums” convened by the President of the General Assembly at the beginning of each session of the General Assembly (resolution 67/290).
  • There are High-level Political Forums required every four years under Assembly auspices (resolution 70/1), the next one set for 2019.
  • There is the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, held back-to-back with the periodic high-level political forum (resolution 69/313).

If you read our coverage of the high-level UN proceedings in 2016, it will be clear that they do not add much value to the consideration of various issues.  The story on the Outcome document of the 2017 (above) indicates that will be true also of proceedings in 2017.

Support our effort to cover the UN honestly.

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Tiny satellites are coming into their own as the need for cheap earth observation systems booms.

Chinese genocide in Tibet draws rare UN protest  

Chinese actions recall 1961 General Assembly resolution on  Tibet self-determination 

70-year review of world economic & social survey seeks to praise but damns instead 

3 June 2017:  A review of 70 years of the World Economic and Social Survey to be considered by the High-level Segment of ECOSOC in July unwittingly reveals the meretricious nature of UN Development policy.     Read More 

UN Envoys in trouble spots:  W. Sahara, Cote d'Ivoire. Cyprus. S. Sudan.    ​​


The United States and Britain have a long history of political animosity dating back to the 18th Century War of Independence but the strong cultural ties between the two countries have obscured that record. Modern transatlantic differences first came into focus in August 1941, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) met on a battleship anchored in Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay to declare a set of common war aims.             Read More   


19 December 2016: In a resolution on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund the General Assembly expresses concern that it suffered $3.4 billion in losses due to foreign exchange factors during the 2014-2015 biennium. It urges the Secretary-General to "employ suitable procedures and tools to mitigate foreign exchange losses as well as develop an internal mechanism to monitor, evaluate and manage" such losses or gains. ​      Read More

STRIDENT High commissioner for human rights can't figure out why he's SHUT OUT

13 September 2016: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein opened the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council by complaining about"an emerging pattern: the growing refusal on the part of an increasing number of Member States to grant OHCHR, or the human rights mechanisms, access" when it "is requested explicitly, or in other instances to engage with us."            Read more