General Assembly must work in partnership with UN Secretariat for reform –

“These proposed changes are all mutually interdependent, as they also depend on the achievement of the highest ethical standards throughout the Secretariat,” Mr. Annan said. “Failure to carry through reform in any one of these areas can greatly reduce, or even nullify, the value of reform in all the others. Therefore I cannot too strongly urge Member States to view this process of change as a whole, and to embark on it in full-hearted partnership with the management and staff of the Secretariat.”The report, which was written in response to a request in the Outcome Document adopted by national leaders at last year’s UN World Summit, contains proposals in seven main areas: people, leadership, information and communications technology, service delivery, budget and financial management, effective control by Member States, and the creation of a small, dedicated office to manage the process of change itself.The Secretary-General noted that successful reform depends on a strategic partnership based on mutual trust, and acknowledged that this has not always been present. “Many States feel excluded from any real say in the affairs of the Organization, and seek to correct this by asserting their authority on matters of detail. But this has the effect of breaking down what should be the division of labour between me, as Chief Administrative Officer, and this Assembly,” he said.“It is vital that we find a way to restore trust and partnership, based on a clear understanding of each other’s roles,” he said. “The role of a governing body is to provide strategic direction to the management, and then hold it accountable for the results. And the role of management is to deliver those results effectively and transparently, so that it can be judged on its performance.”To achieve change, he said, “we – the Secretariat – and you, the Member States, must work together to make it happen.”General Assembly President Jan Eliasson urged those present to begin the process of translating words into action and echoed Mr. Annan’s call for partnership. “It is now time to carefully study and carefully consider the proposals of the Secretary-General,” the Assembly President said. “It is essential that we address this vital issue with trust, transparency and a sense of common responsibility.”Ambassador Eliasson said the General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee as well as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) “will have crucial roles to play.” The Fifth Committee is charged with handling all in-house financial issues at the UN, while the ACABQ is widely considered to be a powerful budget watchdog, since its recommendations to the Fifth Committee often call for cuts and are frequently adopted.Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China – with 132 members, the largest Third World coalition at the UN – Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo of South Africa thanked Mr. Annan for his report. “Like the Secretary-General we agree that this is a very important report,” he said. “We now expect that this entire report will be forwarded immediately to the ACABQ so that the ACABQ can expeditiously start considering the substance of the proposals before it before it is formally introduced to the Fifth Committee.”He said the G-77 countries “remain anxiously ready as many other Member States to see this process of bringing positive changes happen very soon to strengthen our beloved Organization.”Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), also thanked Mr. Annan for his report “which will have an important impact on the future of our Organization.”He welcomed the fact that the review “has not been done in a business-as-usual approach but in the form of a comprehensive package which has the potential to improve the way this Organization is working.”The EU felt the report “should be treated in the way that all other follow-up reports to the World Summit have been treated, namely in the framework of informal plenary meetings.” He added that the EU did not object to consideration of the report by the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ but added that “the plenary as the addressee of the report should have control over the process.”Ambassador Pfanzelter said the EU member countries “look forward to constructive discussion with all Member States in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.”Ambassador John Bolton of the United States joined others in welcoming the Secretary-General’s proposals. “We believe that consideration of the Secretary-General’s report in the first instance belongs in the plenary of the General Assembly which will in turn make decisions as to how to allocate it among the relevant committees of the General Assembly in the judgment of the General Assembly.” He voiced hope that the initial disagreements over how to proceed would not be a portent of the negotiations to come. “This work is too important to be caught up in procedural wrangles in this body,” he said.Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan echoed earlier speakers in welcoming the proposals. “This is a bold report containing a number of important proposals and recommendations that aim to improve the work of the Organization,” he said. “We appreciate the strong commitment and will of the Secretary-General to lead the Organization in this direction.”Specific, technical details would have to be discussed in the Fifth Committee, but “it is essential that policy discussions on key proposals and recommendations will have to take place here in the plenary,” he said.President Eliasson said he would immediately begin consultations on the course ahead.

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