UN draft reform issues

The UN General Assembly has approved a document that world leaders will endorse at a three-day summit beginning on Wednesday.

    US: Draft reform document is 'a good beginning'

    Main issues include:

    • Development: Affirms existing Millennium Development Goals that set timetables to halve poverty for the poorest of the poor, provide elementary education and halt the spread of Aids. It also calls on countries "to make concrete efforts to achieve the target of 0.7%" of their gross national product for foreign aid but is weak on breaking down trade barriers for developing nations.
    • Human Rights Council: Agrees to replace the discredited UN Human Rights Commission with a new Human Rights Council. But it also delays discussion of criteria for membership, including election by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
    • Peace Building Commission: Establishes a new body aimed at helping nations emerging from conflict. Disagreements remain on whether that body will report to the Security Council or the General Assembly, where developing nations have a majority.
    • Responsibility to protect: A concept, promoted by Canada, calls for nations to consider intervention in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Aim is to make it easier for nations to advocate a response when civilians are persecuted. 
    • Terrorism: Condemns terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes". But it does not provide a definition of terrorism that would condemn attacks on civilians and noncombatants as Western nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan wanted.
    • UN management reform: Pledges to institute oversight, outside audits and investigations. But it also leaves decisions for later discussion on giving Annan the power to make management changes and set priorities.
    • Non-proliferation/disarmament: All references dropped.  

    SOURCE: Reuters


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