UN’s effort to reform after 72 years of operation

(VOVWORLD) -A conference on UN reform opened the 72nd UN General Assembly Week in New York on September 18. 120 countries have signed an agreement to support UN reform.

UN’s effort to reform after 72 years of operation - ảnh 1 A UN General Assembly meeting (Illustrative photo)

Representatives of 193 UN General Assembly members attended the reform conference. Reform is a pressing issue on the agenda along with North Korea’s nuclear program, climate change, and terrorism.

UN reform: not a new story

UN reform has been happening slowly. In September, 2000, the UN convened a Millennium Summit and adopted the Millennium Declaration, which set UN priorities for the new millennium, including reforms to expand its role and increase its effectiveness. In 2003 in a report on the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan established a study and consultancy team to handle peace and security challenges and UN reform. In a message to mark the UN’s 60th anniversary in May, 2005, Kofi Annan called on world leaders to make serious and strong decisions on UN reform.

Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon, also identified UN reform as the most important and challenging task of his term. The current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his first speech after taking office that the UN needs to reform to protect its values, including shortening planning time, focusing on implementation, and minimizing red tape.

The UN’s membership has increased from 51 to 193 since its establishment. The world’s population has tripled and new powerful centers have formed, creating a multi-polar world. Cross-border crimes, terrorism, and cyber crimes have expanded beyond the capability of any one nation. The UN has not fulfilled its role because of bureaucracy and poor management. Its budget increases 140% each year and its staff has doubled since 2000.

Specific steps

US President Donald Trump told the UN reform conference that the UN needs to regain people’s trust. It should assign specific tasks for each managerial level and focus on results, not procedures. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said UN reform will focus on simplifying administrative procedures and adopt a result-based management and human-centered approach.

The UN will begin its reform plan by ensuring gender equality in its organizations and strengthening anti-terrorism mechanisms. UN development agencies will be restructured to better coordinate with nations through the Sustainable Development Agenda to 2020. Guterres has called on members to engage in a comprehensive and bold reform program.

Analysts say the UN reform effort will be challenged by division in the UN Security Council and the rule that neither the UN General Assembly nor the UN Secretariat can make independent decisions. The US, the biggest contributor to the UN, is critical of the UN’s under-performance, and is threatening to reduce its contribution.

Since it was established in 1945 at the end of World War II, the UN has contributed greatly to global peace, security, and sustainable development. But rapid global changes have pushed the UN to reform in order to reach its goals and principles.