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U.N. Summit Wraps Up With Prospects of More Reforms

BY Admin  September 16, 2005 at 6:50 PM EDT

The document, which intends to guide the embattled organization as it celebrates its 60th birthday this year, has been in the works for months and elicited tense negotiations among member states in recent weeks ahead of the three-day summit.

With many of the 150 world leaders that attended the summit already gone, those who remained expressed a mixture of hope that the document would pave the way for more significant reform and dissatisfaction about the summit’s meager outcome, Reuters reported.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin expressed “profound disappointment” that the proposed Human Rights Council’s makeup had not been settled, according to Reuters. The proposed council would replace the 53-member Commission on Human Rights.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyno said he would have like to have seen a more representative Security Council within the reform document, and while the plan pledged to make the 15-member council “more broadly representative,” it put off any decisions on the matter until later in the year.

Annan, meanwhile, hailed agreements to intervene to protect civilians from genocide and establish a Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict.

The reform document included calls to create a Peacebuilding Commission and to protect civilians from genocide, but watered down or put off decisions on several other changes Secretary-General Kofi Annan had proposed earlier this year.

His comments came two days after he had expressed frustration that the document had not achieved the “sweeping and fundamental reform” needed.

Here are some of the significant items and how they fared within the approved document:

– Human Rights Council: Members agreed to replace the 53-member Commission on Human Rights with a more selective Human Rights Council. Decisions concerning the makeup of the new council have been left for later.

– Peacebuilding Commission: The world body agreed to create a new commission — separate from its peacekeeping missions — to help countries emerging from conflict. Its still unclear if the commission will report to the Security Council or the General Assembly.

– Security Council Expansion: Members pledged to make the Security Council “more broadly representative, efficient and transparent” by the end of 2005, although it’s unclear if that means any new permanent members will be added.

– U.N. Management Reform: The United Nations pledged to introduce oversight and audits of U.N. management, but left decisions for later concerning who would have the power to make management changes.

– Development: The members affirmed the “Millennium Goals” to combat global poverty, including calls for countries to “make concrete efforts to achieve the target of 0.7 percent” of their gross national product toward foreign aid by 2015.

– Terrorism: The approved reform plan condemns terrorism “in all its forms” and stresses the need to hold a convention on terrorism within the next year.

– Responsibility to protect: The world body called for the international community to “use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means … to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”