UN reform activities continue to gain momentum in new year

13 January 2006

As the dust settles from negotiations on the interim United Nations budget passed before the holiday season in December, the General Assembly is picking up the pace of action on institutional reforms, according to a schedule released today by a UN spokesman.

The reforms come in response to the Outcome Document adopted by world leaders meeting at the 2005 Summit held last September at UN Headquarters.

“If 2005 was about commitments, 2006 must be about implementation,” Assembly President Jan Eliasson said yesterday.

“Through delivering the outcomes to which our leaders committed us at the World Summit, we will show the world that a revitalized General Assembly can respond decisively to the major challenges of the twenty-first century,” he told a ceremony yesterday marking the handover of the chairmanship of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China from Jamaica to South Africa.

Also yesterday, Member States received a comprehensive progress report outlining what has been achieved and what lies ahead on Secretariat and management reform. It was prepared by the lead negotiators on that issue, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan and Ambassador Allan Rock of Canada.

In their report, the two, who co-chair closed-door talks in the Assembly, noted extensive work already in progress by the Secretariat on five main fronts: ensuring ethical conduct, strengthening oversight and accountability, updating the Organization, improving senior management performance and increasing transparency.

The preparation of the Secretary-General’s report on “mandate review” – re-thinking the responsibilities taken on by the entire organization and its parts – will be the subject of consultations on 25 January.

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will brief on progress in the area of human resource and financial rules and regulations on 30 January, according to the schedule.

On other fronts of the follow-up to the Summit, talks on reform of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) were held this morning and consultations on development are scheduled for Monday.

In regard to the proposed Human Rights Council, Assembly President Eliasson and his Co-Chairs will now proceed to hold consultations with individual Member States following Wednesday’s positive conclusion of plenary sessions, the spokesman said.