World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Annan ‘very concerned’ accord may not be reached

Annan ‘very concerned’ accord may not be reached on World Summit document

Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned today that he was “very concerned” that agreement might not be reached in time on a draft document for next week’s World Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and he urged “more give and take” from Member States.

With only days left before the world body hosts the largest ever gathering of global leaders, a General Assembly panel looked set to go into marathon deliberations over the weekend in an effort to produce an agreed outcome document on issues ranging from enacting UN reform to promoting development to battling terrorism.

“Serious discussions are going on,” Mr. Annan told the closing session of the 58th annual UN Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI/NGO) Conference. “If Member States are going to get a meaningful outcome, there will need to be more give and take. But the clock is ticking.

“I am very concerned that despite some signs of progress, the work may not finish on time and the deadline will be missed. Of course, I would be happy to be proven wrong,” he added in his most detailed expression of concern this week as the talks have gone down to the wire.

“Throughout the past week, I have urged ambassadors who are negotiating the outcome document to remember that in today’s interconnected world, the collective interest is often the national interest. They must negotiate with that spirit in mind,” he said, stressing the need for a balanced outcome that meets every country’s main concerns, from terrorism and non-proliferation to post-conflict reconstruction, human rights and UN reform itself.

The General Assembly Core Group, set up by Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon to draft the document for the 2005 World Summit from 14 to 16 September, expected to be attended by some 180 heads of State or government, continued its marathon sessions today and prepared for a long weekend.

Yesterday it took up the section on Secretariat management reforms, the Human Rights Council and the concept of the responsibility to protect civilians from genocide and other crimes against humanity.

These and a host of other proposals were contained in Mr. Annan’s report in March “In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all.” He has repeatedly spoken of the unique opportunity offered by the Summit in this 60th anniversary year of the UN to rise up to the challenges of the 21st century.

On Wednesday he told reporters he hoped the issues would not get watered down to the point where they become meaningless. “We are getting to the wire and I would expect more give and take between the next 24/48 hours for us to be able to have a competent document to place before the heads of State and government," he said then.

Mr. Annan’s report, a kind of blueprint for the Summit, contained key recommendations on poverty, security and human rights, including increasing official development assistance by developed countries to 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP).

It called for tackling climate change, noting that the Kyoto Protocol containing binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions only extends until 2012, and for a comprehensive anti-terrorism treaty, defining terrorism as any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants and intimidate a population or coerce a government or international organization.

The report also urged the creation of two new bodies, a UN Peacebuilding Council to help countries emerging from conflict, and a more powerful Human Rights Council elected by the General Assembly to replace the current Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights, which critics says is politicized.

Other recommendations included establishing a democracy fund, expanding the Security Council from its current 15 members to 24 and streamlining the UN Secretariat.

If acted on, the proposals would mark the most dramatic change in the UN's functioning ever achieved at once.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news