Inviting Member States to join him in a mutual accountability pact, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today set out a series of actions to ensure that the pledges made at this week's World Summit become reality.
In an address to the 60th General Assembly, meeting for the General Debate at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan said he would start immediately on the process of making the UN Secretariat “more efficient, more effective, and more accountable.”
The UN’s ongoing mandates from its first 55 years will be reviewed, its budgetary and human resources rules re-assessed and reformed, and an independent oversight audit committee set up after a full review of UN oversight and management is completed, he told the Assembly. The details of the previously announced independent ethics office, designed to protect any whistleblowers and to encourage greater financial disclosure, will also be unveiled soon.
Mr. Annan said there will be a one-time buyout of staff so that “we have the personnel best suited to carry out the priorities you have set” and he will devise proposals so that the Secretary-General in future is “fully equipped” to act as chief administrative officer and can be held accountable by Member States.
“This is the way to restore the confidence of people everywhere in the Organization’s integrity and ability to deliver,” he said.
The Secretary-General urged Member States to play their part as well to implement the commitments made at the Summit, which he hailed for making progress “across a broader front than on any other single occasion in the 60-year history of the Organization.”
While “we did not achieve everything,” Mr. Annan said there were real breakthroughs in promises to fight poverty and disease, establish lasting peace in war-torn countries and preventing genocide, as well as advances in combating terrorism, promoting democracy, upholding human rights and strengthening the humanitarian response to crises.
But he added that agreement is still needed on several fronts, including Security Council reform, turning “an unequivocal condemnation” of terrorism into a comprehensive global treaty, and fixing “our distressing failures on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.”
“The consensus underlying the Non-Proliferation Treaty is badly frayed,” Mr. Annan said, noting that two attempts this year by Member States to tackle “this existential threat” have ended in stalled negotiations.
He criticized some States for being “content to point fingers at each other, rather than work for solutions… We face growing risks of proliferation and catastrophic terrorism, and the stakes are too high to continue to down a dangerous path of diplomatic brinkmanship.”
But Mr. Annan cited this week’s agreement to take collective action to protect civilians threatened by genocide and other crimes and humanity as both “a hard-won revolution in international affairs” and a sign that “we can find collective answers to common problems.”