General Assembly President takes stock of UN reform progress

Assembly President Jan Eliasson

27 March 2006 – Following the hard-won creation of a new more effective Human Rights Council, the next priorities for the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly include reform of UN management, the Secretariat, and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), according to the Assembly President.

There is important unfinished business in regard to the new rights Council, for which membership elections will take place on 9 May, as well as the Peacebuilding Commission created in December, for which an Organizational Committee has yet to be formed, President Jan Eliasson wrote in a Friday letter taking stock of progress in the reform agenda put into motion by the 2005 World Summit.

“I am very grateful for the energy and commitment you invested in the historic resolution on the Human Rights Council,” Mr. Eliasson said in the letter. “I know that you now stand ready to actively involve yourselves in the other ongoing processes of reform and World Summit follow-up.”

Expressing hope for flexibility in discussions of problem areas of a draft resolution on ECOSOC, he described development activities also being arranged by the General Assembly.

In regard to Secretariat and Management reform, he urged Member States to examine Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposals in his report “Investing in the United Nations,” calling it “an important report for an important time,” and saying there was general agreement that it required quick action.

“I therefore appeal to all Member States to take a constructive and practical approach to questions of procedure so that both the overarching political issues and the budgetary, financial and administrative issues can be considered in an appropriate way,” he said.

Mandate reform, system-wide coherence and a comprehensive convention on terrorism are other parts of World Summit follow-up that are currently the subject of intensive attention, as is stepped-up activity on HIV/AIDS and the environment, Mr. Eliasson continued.

As for Security Council reform, he noted that three resolutions have been tabled, and encouraged Member States to engage in constructive dialogue on the issue.

On a personal note, the Assembly President’s spokesperson announced today that Mr. Eliasson has been appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden, taking office on 24 April while at the same time completing his tenure as President, which ends in September.

“President Eliasson will continue to work with the same commitment and energy to implement the United Nations reform agenda,” the spokesperson said.

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