The U.S. spending on nuclear arms per year would be enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation. Moreover, the number of nuclear powers now exceeds 100.
In fact, in addition to the five ‘only’ declared nuclear states (US, Russia, France, UK and China) there are five European countries hosting atomic arms, 23 nations claiming to rely on U.S. nuclear weapons for their security, more than 40 countries with nuclear power or research reactors capable of producing nuclear weapons, and 24 states who are part of nuclear alliances.
**The Greatest Threat**
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which compiled these findings in its report “The Case Against Nuclear Weapons”, says that despite the end of the cold war, there are still 20 600 nuclear weapons across the globe, posing the greatest immediate threat to the future of humankind.
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly approved on December 24, 2011, a budget of $5.15 billion for the period of 2012-2013, a move that was “welcomed” by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a “collective achievement and a commitment” to “do more and better with less.”
“Governments and people everywhere are struggling. It is a time of global financial austerity,” he said, stressing that although the approved budget is lower than the one from the previous biennium, it was imperative to “make the most of our resources” to be able to “continue fulfilling every one of the critical global mandates entrusted to the United Nations.”
Ban had initially proposed a budget of $5.197 billion in October, which represented a 3.2 per cent cut in the current financial plan, as part of adjusting to the current sluggish global economy.
**Killing Machines, More Important Than Peace**
For his part, the UN General Assembly President, Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, praised the “robust and constructive engagement” of all delegations in reaching consensus on a financial plan, adding that the negotiation process had been “particularly challenging this year in the wake of global financial challenges.”
The UN has four main purposes: to keep peace throughout the world; to develop friendly relations among nations; to help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms; to be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
Related: [www.un.org](http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40837&Cr=general%20assembly&Cr1=) | 2011 [Human Wrongs Watch](http://human-wrongs-watch.net/)