Panel determined to streamline UN system meets for the first time at Headquarters

5 April 2006

As a distinguished group of world leaders convened today to harmonize efforts in development, humanitarian assistance and the environment across all the units of the United Nations system, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the panel, co-chaired by three Prime Ministers, to produce a stronger, more effective Organization.

“I count on your personal and collective leadership and efforts, to help produce bold but implementable recommendations that will lead to a UN system that is greater than the sum of its parts,” he told the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in the Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and the Environment.

“A UN,” he added, “that is better able to ensure that these areas are much more closely and effectively integrated and coordinated” with other key pillars.

The panel, co-chaired by Prime Ministers Luisa Dias Diogo of Mozambique, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, will produce a study that was requested by global leaders at the 2005 World Summit in New York and is intended to lay the groundwork for a fundamental restructuring of UN work in the field.

It is also meant to complement other major reform initiatives currently under way in the Organization, including the new-created Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council, and the proposal for comprehensive management reform recently submitted to the General Assembly.

“We are meeting at a time of great global challenges,” Mr. Annan told the panel today, citing “uneven progress in poverty reduction in many parts of the developing world, natural and manmade disasters that vastly outstrip our capacity to respond, and increasing environmental degradation that threatens the sustainability of our future well being.”

He voiced hope that the Panel “can help make a decisive breakthrough in realigning and revitalizing the United Nations.”