Acknowledging that recent challenges have eroded confidence in the ability of multilateral institutions to respond, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said “moments of crisis carry seeds of opportunity,” offering the UN and regional organizations the chance to work together more closely on peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
Opening the Sixth High-Level Meeting of heads of regional and inter-governmental organizations, he said a key point in his own UN reform proposals was creating a Peacebuilding Commission , “which could help ensure that peace agreements do not collapse and yield to renewed violence.”
Such a Commission would bring together international and regional bodies, affording regional organizations the possibility of having “a seat and a voice at the table during the critical rebuilding stage in countries emerging from conflict,” he said.
For international peacekeeping, “the demands of war-stricken countries often outstrip the UN’s capacity to deal with them” Mr. Annan said, while other organizations may be better suited to respond to certain situations, as illustrated by the leadership role of the African Union (AU) in efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, western Sudan.
“We wholeheartedly welcome an overall increase in global peacekeeping capacities, and strongly support their further development at the regional and sub-regional levels, including through the proposed 10-year capacity-building plan for the African Union,” he said.
Mr. Annan said General Assembly President Jean Ping has been leading discussions to build consensus in several areas, including the handling of terrorism and post-conflict reconstruction, and “the UN’s relationship with regional organizations is a critical part of the discussion.”
Other areas in which interaction between the UN and regional organizations could be improved include supporting national development, strengthening democratic institutions, good governance and the rule of law, promoting respect for human rights, responding to humanitarian emergencies and dealing with organized crime and corruption, Mr. Annan said.
He said he would invite representatives of regional bodies to take part in relevant meetings of UN coordinating bodies and would implement proposals to hold the High-Level meeting annually, perhaps when regional organizations were meeting with the Security Council.