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In Indonesia, Annan Keeps Focus On UN Reform

In Indonesia, Annan Keeps Focus On UN Reform

Apr 21 2005

Ahead of an historic Asia-Africa summit this weekend in Indonesia, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today briefed top delegates for nearly three hours, spotlighting his sweeping proposals for United Nations reform and calling for new commitments across a broad range of development challenges.

Saying that the world was not paying enough attention to the challenges of development and that the multilateral system was falling short on delivering results – particularly for the developing world, the Secretary-General outlined key features of the proposals contained in his report, "In Larger Freedom," which he expects political leaders to act on at the General Assembly's mid-term millennium review summit in September.

Mr. Annan is in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to attend the Asia-Africa Summit, which opens tomorrow and where political leaders from both regions are expected to forge new partnerships for development cooperation. The occasion also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia. General Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon joined Mr. Annan on the podium and briefed on how the report was being discussed by Member States at UN Headquarters in New York.

According to the text of his remarks at the briefing, Mr. Annan noted that every day, people were dying from poverty, hunger and disease, "but we aren't seeing enough action to meet key commitments to boost resources for development – even though we have in place an agreed development framework." At the same time, just as the human rights, peacekeeping and peace-building machinery of the UN faced "major strains," the global community had lost sight of vitally important issues, such as when to use force and who should authorize it.

He emphasized that a functioning, effective UN was important for everyone – but perhaps it was most important for the developing world, whose countries suffered most from violations of their social, cultural, economic and political rights. And while the UN's contribution to human rights remained important, it had become "uneven, and is often politicized and does not focus on all human rights in all countries," he added.

"I think the time has come for a major overhaul of institutions," Mr. Annan said, stressing that more voices needed to be heard – and listened to – to ensure the UN reflected 2005, not 1945. Along with this, all States should realize that modern challenges, from poverty to terrorism, were interconnected. "We cannot have security without development; we cannot have development without security; and we cannot have either without respect for human rights," he said.

Saying that his reform proposals set out a "development heavy agenda," he stressed the importance for concrete commitments to meet the target for official development assistance (ODA) amounting to 0.7 percent of gross national income by 2015. He had also called for renewed negotiations on duty-free and quota-free market access for all exports from developed countries, as well as a "big boost" in resources to fight against HIV/AIDS, an issue of deep importance for Africa and Asia as well as the world.

"I hope you will see [the agenda] as a chance to secure progress for your peoples on all these points," he said.

ENDS

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