UN reform remains work in progress, says Annan, urging Group of 77 to keep up the job

Kofi Annan

22 September 2006 – Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the Group of 77 developing countries to work towards reforming the United Nations on the basis of the “three pillars” of development, security and human rights, saying that while the world body has made progress, much remains to make it more efficient and proactive.

“When I prepared to take office almost 10 years ago, I pledged to work to ensure that the resources and facilities of the UN system are effectively channelled towards those who need them most. That means the people of your nations, who, we must never forget, represent the majority of the membership of our United Nations.”

“I leave the Organization with the task far from finished… I am equally deeply convinced that we need to build our future on a comprehensive approach – one which gives equal weight and attention to the three fundamental pillars of development, security and human rights.”

“One which recognizes that these three pillars are not only ends in themselves – they are the prerequisites for our collective well-being… they reinforce each other; they depend on each other. I pray that you will keep building on that understanding – not only for the sake of the United Nations, but for the sake of the people of your nations.”

He repeated his long-standing message that “reform is a process, not an event,” adding that despite the challenges ahead he was nevertheless “deeply convinced” that over the past decade the Organization had become more effective, more accountable and better coordinated than ever.

In particular, he said developments resulting from last year’s World Summit are “real milestones for change,” highlighting the Peace-building Commission, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Democracy Fund, the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism and the setting up of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. Annan also stressed the importance of having a better functioning Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN’s principal body for coordinating and advancing development policy, illustrating this with some sobering statistics, including the fact that nearly 3 billion people subsist on less than $2 a day, the same number as 10 years ago.

“Goal by goal, region by region, ECOSOC members should review progress, correct setbacks, hail advances, win new resources, and urge future reforms so as to help keep the world on track for 2015,” he said, referring to the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seek to deal with a raft of social ills.

Wrapping up his speech to the Group of 77, which actually includes 132 developing countries and China, Mr. Annan drew attention to the fact that today’s 30th annual meeting to the foreign ministers was the last time he would address them as Secretary-General before his term ends in December, and he re-emphasized the key issue of reform of the Secretariat to the whole process.

“The UN’s legitimacy and efficacy depend on the integrity and effectiveness of the Secretariat. The Summit Outcome provides a blueprint, and the go-ahead, for extensive management reform to make the Secretariat more effective, more efficient and more accountable. I look to you to help implement that Outcome, which your Heads of State and Government have signed on to.”

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