Wednesday, April 7, 2010
An official reform programme was begun by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan soon after starting his first term on
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.
The Oil-for-Food Programme was established by the UN in 1996. Its purpose was to allow
The programme was discontinued in late 2003 amidst allegations of widespread abuse and corruption. The former Director, Benon Sevan of
The UN is also involved in supporting development, e.g. by the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is the largest multilateral source of grant technical assistance in the world. Organizations—like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria—are leading institutions in the battle against diseases around the world, especially in poor countries. The UN Population Fund is a major provider of reproductive services. It has helped reduce infant and maternal mortality in 100 countries. The UN also promotes human development through various related agencies. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), for example, are independent, specialized agencies, and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed as separate from the UN through the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 192 United Nations members states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000, commits the states to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
In recent years there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations. But there is little clarity, let alone consensus, about how to reform it. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. There have also been numerous calls for the UN Security Council’s membership to be increased to reflect the current geo-political state (that is, more members from