At Quartz we pride ourselves on our headlines. At the United Nations, it’s safe to say, they do not.
The UN general assembly (UNGA) and its side events include a huge numbers of workshops, speeches, and panel discussions, all vying for the attention of delegates and journalists. Giving an event a good title, therefore, is crucial, and it’s much the same challenge as giving a news story a good headline.
A good Quartz headline is smart, innovative, and charming. It should tell you clearly what the story will say, but not be dry or turgid; convince you to read the story, but not be clickbait-y or stretch the facts; and prompt you to share it with your mates.
A good UN headline, apparently, is, intended either to drive you cross-eyed with confusion or to conjure up the feeling of sitting semi-comatose in an airless conference room, trying to resist stabbing your eyes out with a pen just to feel something else than boredom.
Having parsed far too many of these while covering the UNGA this week, we thought we’d give the UN a hand and Quartzify a handful of the worst event titles we spotted this year.
Let’s begin with the very theme of the 2017 UNGA itself:
Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet
This is a tricky one, since what it really means is: “We don’t have a theme so let’s come up with something nobody can object to.” The other sessions listed below are impenetrable, but not content-free; this one is content-free. Still, here’s our attempt:
How not to kill each other and/or destroy the world
Here are the others:
Scaling Impact Investing
The ultimate guide to investing ethically while still making a ton of cash
Private Sector Accountability for Women, Children and Adolescents
Companies everywhere abuse women and kids, and now it’s payback time
Business Fights Poverty: Rethinking Collaboration for the SDGs
How I learned to stop being greedy and love meeting anti-poverty goals
Enabling Policies and Investments for a Fit-for-Purpose Health Workforce in LMICs
How to get countries the health workers they need at a price they can afford
Strengthening Public-Private Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Development
Businesses and governments can save the world together—so let’s at least make an effort
Mainstreaming the Circular Economy Model
Come learn about a wonky economic idea that might just save the environment
“Investment Support Programme for the LDCs”–High-Level Dialogue on legal and expert assistance to make foreign investment work better for the sustainable development of the LDCs
How to give poor countries better laws so investors don’t run screaming for the hills
Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights in Women’s Economic Empowerment
For women to control their careers, first let them control their bodies—it’s really that simple
Beyond CSR: Mobilizing the Private Sector to Address the Refugee Crisis
Hey business world, that tree-planting scheme is nice, but what have you done for refugees lately?
Planetary Health: Moving from Concept to Action–Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
We have 17 major world problems to solve in 13 years—so let’s stop talking and start doing
Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Industry Forum 2017: Partnerships to make innovation and technology work for women and girls
Technology isn’t made with women and girls in mind, and you’ll never guess why
High-level discussion around the impact of strong health systems on global security and prosperity
You want a better world? Just build better hospitals