States Debate Annan’s Last Organizational Report
Member States Debate Annan’s Last Organizational Report Highlighting ‘Good Governance’
The General Assembly today discussed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s 10th and last organizational report in which he focused on the need for “good governance and accountability,” not only within the world body itself but also within Member States and all global organizations.
“The themes of good governance and accountability run through this report like golden threads. The Member States need to be well governed and accountable to their citizens if they are to nourish economic and social development, if they are to achieve lasting security and if they are to uphold human rights under the rule of law,” Mr. Annan wrote in the 56-page document.
“The Organization, for its part, can become stronger and more effective only if it is better managed and more clearly accountable to the Member States… That implies a need for greater accountability and transparency, and fairer representation, in all global institutions.”
During the day-long debate in the General Assembly, representatives from almost 20 countries and regional groups made statements on the detailed report, which is divided into five sections covering development; peace and security; human rights, the rule of law and humanitarian affairs; strengthening of the Organization and global constituencies.
It looks at the UN’s main achievements and challenges during the past 12 months and, as Mr. Annan points out in his introduction, “examines them in the light of the critical developments in the decade” since he took office at the start of 1997. Mr. Annan’s term as Secretary-General will end on 31 December.
“If any one phenomenon can be said to have dominated the decade we have just lived through, it must surely be globalization,” he points out, while also highlighting other changes in international relations, including the fact that nation-States are no longer the sole players although they are still the most important.
He also details how the UN has changed to try and deal with these new global realities, noting for example that over its lifetime it has moved from “being principally a conference-servicing Organization to become a truly global service provider working on the ground in virtually every corner of the world to improve the lives of people who need help.”
“Over 50 per cent of our 30,000 civilian staff now serve in the field. The number of humanitarian offices increased from 12 offices with 114 staff members in 1997 to 43 offices with 815 staff members in 2005,” he adds, emphasizing the particularly dramatic transformation over the past decade.
Despite these developments however, Mr. Annan acknowledges that the world body must transform itself further to deal with the myriad new challenges of the 21st century, emphasizing that this requires the “urgent attention” of all 192 Member States.
“But our commitment must never change. The United Nations, founded in the name of “We the peoples”, must be able to advance their interests effectively in all three areas – development, security and human rights… This report shows how the Organization has sought to do so in the past year and in the light of the past 10 years.”
“I believe there is much in it that we can be proud of. But I am also fully conscious of the alarming extent to which… our capacities fall short of the challenges we face. That is why I am convinced that the task of strengthening the United Nations is… an imperative that directly concerns the interests of all Member States and should, much more than it appears to do at present, engage their urgent attention.”