Annan urges greater focus on good governance at UN-backed meeting in Morocco

Annan urges greater focus on good governance at UN-backed meeting in Morocco

To make progress in building a better world, the international community will need to pay much more attention to democracy, public administration and sound systems of governance, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to the opening of a high-level meeting in Morocco seeking to improve the public sector.

"Leaders and policy-makers need the tools and institutions that will translate the [Millennium] Declaration's broad goals into nationally owned strategies and actions," the Secretary-General said in remarks delivered to the Fourth Global Forum on Reinventing Government by Mervat Tallawy, Executive Director of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

"Citizens need the transparent, responsive mechanisms through which they can voice their demands and participate in all stages of policy-making, implementation and evaluation," he added.

The three-day Forum in Marrakesh aims to make governments more responsive to citizens and the private sector, modernize their operations and reconcile the values of local societies with the sweeping culture of globalization.

In his statement, the Secretary-General also emphasized the involvement of the private sector and civil society organizations in activities such as the delivery of public services that have traditionally been incumbent solely on the State. "Such partnerships are critically important," he said. "While the State has a crucial role to play in development, it cannot accomplish its tasks on its own."

Mr. Annan noted that the United Nations "is deeply engaged in the global effort to 'reinvent government,' particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition," and that some of the world body's activities include policy research and analysis, training programmes and advisory services.