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UN's agenda: reform, war on poverty and terror

UN's daunting 2005 agenda: reform, war on poverty and terror – Malloch Brown

The United Nations faces the daunting task in 2005 of delivering on an ambitious reform agenda while ensuring that the war on poverty and hunger and the fight against terrorism are not seen as mutually exclusive, according to Secretary-General Kofi Annan's newly appointed Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown.

"The world is changing and the UN needs to change with it," he said referring to the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change appointed by Mr. Annan to draw up a blueprint for UN reform.

"And if we miss this opportunity for lasting reform, there may not be another one," he told the Executive Board of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the world body's global development network which he has headed since 1999.

The UN in 2005 has twin-track agenda of security and development, he said, the need to rebuild, as the Panel argues, "a legitimate multilateral security system that addresses the threats that disproportionately fall on the poor such as poverty and disease as well as threats that more often preoccupy the rich, such as terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction."

Another challenge comes from the UN Millennium Project delivered by Special Adviser Jeffrey Sachs earlier this month recommending, among other things, that rich countries double their investments in poor nations to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

But while the UN, UNDP and Mr. Sachs' team "can take pride in having helped frame so much of the agenda for 2005, putting it there is the easy bit. Delivering is the hard part," Mr. Malloch Brown added.

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