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Latest UN reform effort driven by focus on new priorities, not budget, Fréchette says

Latest UN reform effort driven by focus on new priorities, not budget, Fréchette says

Louise Fréchette on UN reform
The latest proposals by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for reforming the United Nations are not steered by budgetary considerations but instead are an effort to reorient the work of the world body to focus on priorities agreed to by world leaders, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, said today.

The reform proposals "are driven by a desire to ensure that we do the best we can for the Members States with the resources that we have," the Deputy Secretary-General says in an interview conducted by the World Chronicle, a UN-produced television programme that will air this evening.

"We are emphasizing in particular the need to ensure that our activities, what the people in the [UN] Secretariat do, corresponds to the new priorities the Member States have set out in the Millennium Declaration" that was adopted by world leaders at the 2000 Millennium Summit, Ms. Fréchette says. Those goals include halving, by 2015, worldwide poverty and hunger rates, ensuring universal education and fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

That kind of "master policy document" is something the UN has rarely had, the Deputy Secretary-General points out, noting that as such it becomes the basis for looking at everything the UN does, as some activities may have lost their relevance.

"That's a judgement that has to be passed and the Members States have said that they are willing to review the programme of work of the Organization to make sure that we concentrate on our efforts that really matter," Ms. Fréchette says. "There's very, very strong support throughout the United Nations and the Members States for focussing on what's emerged from the Millennium Summit."

That new focus will be reflected in the budget for the UN that the Secretary-General will submit next year, as some adjustments will be made in where the money is spent and on which issues, the Deputy Secretary-General says.

"I think any organization can always be improved upon, and therefore there is both a sense of satisfaction at the improvements that have been brought to our capacity to operate, but also a sense that we can go further in making this organization more efficient, more effective [and] better able to serve the Member States," Ms. Fréchette says.