Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reform Programs of United Nations

Reform Programme

An official reform programme was begun by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan soon after starting his first term on 1 January 1997. Reforms mentioned include changing the permanent membership of the Security Council (which currently reflects the power relations of 1945); making the bureaucracy more transparent, accountable and efficient; making the UN more democratic; and imposing an international tariff on arms manufacturers worldwide.

In September 2005, the UN converted a World Summit that brought together the heads of most member states, calling the summit “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations”. Kofi Annan had proposed that the summit agree on a global “grand bargain” to reform the UN, revamping international systems for peace and security, human rights and development, to make them capable of addressing the extraordinary challenges facing the UN in the 21st century.

World leaders agreed on a compromise text with such notable items as: the creation of a Peace building Commission to provide a central mechanism to help countries emerging from conflict; an agreement that the international community has the right to step in when national governments fail to fulfil their responsibility to protect their citizens from atrocious crimes; a Human Rights Council (agreed 15 March 2006 and first meeting 19 June 2006); an agreement to devote more resources to UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services; several agreements to spend billions more on achieving the Millennium Development Goals; a clear and unambiguous condemnation of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”; a democracy fund; an agreement to wind up the Trusteeship Council due to the completion of its mission.

Although the UN member states achieved little reform of UN bureaucracy, Annan continued to carry out reforms under his own authority. He established an ethics office, responsible for administering new financial disclosure and whistleblower protection policies. As of late December 2005, the Secretariat was completing a review of all General Assembly mandates more than five years old. That review is intended to provide the basis for decision-making by the member states about which duplicative or unnecessary programmes should be eliminated.

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