Annan stresses ‘multilateralism and joint action’ at meeting on UN-regional cooperation

22 September 2006

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today re-emphasized the need for regional organizations and the United Nations to work ever more closely in tackling the myriad issues of global security, following on from his remarks earlier in the week to the Security Council calling for a new level of seriousness in such partnerships.

“We need to ensure that multilateralism and joint action – rather than polarized initiatives – bridge our efforts to address the challenges of today’s world,” he told the heads of more than 20 regional and other intergovernmental organizations including the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the African Union, NATO and others.

“There is a better recognition that we have to work together in a much more complicated world than a decade ago, and also to find a truly effective division of labour,” he said in a closed-door meeting at UN headquarters.

Today’s talks formed the seventh High-Level Meeting between the UN and regional organizations to focus on closer cooperation and strategic partnerships and they also picked up on the Council’s discussions on Wednesday, at which Mr. Annan called for a “new level of clarity, practicality and seriousness” in their joint relations.

“Much as we have strengthened our capacities over the years, it is essential that we do even more… the breadth of our involvement in mediation efforts, the growing awareness of the fragility of post-conflict situations, and the increased emphasis on prevention, have also been major features in our work,” he told the Council.

During the meeting two days ago, the 15-member body also discussed Mr. Annan’s recommendations for closer partnerships between the UN and regional organizations, as contained in his latest report on the issue, and delegates also focused on these during today’s discussions.

While acknowledging that progress has been made in strengthening the global-regional security partnership since high-level meetings began in 1994, much work remains to be done to make it fully operational, with the two principal challenges being clarification of roles and assistance to capacity-building, according to a press release on the meeting.

Among several issues discussed today, delegates said coordination would be made more effective by having clear guidelines, including acknowledging, for example, the primacy of the Council in peace and security, while also having future meetings focusing on selected conflict situations, with a balanced approach across all regions.


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