Monday, September 12, 2005

No draft document ready for UN summit meetings?

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the UN summit meetings beginning on Wednesday, September 14 will likely not have a final draft document on UN reform:

Summit unlikely to finalise UN reform
By Michael Gawenda
Herald Correspondent in New York
September 13, 2005

The United Nations summit of world leaders due to get under way tomorrow looks almost certain to go ahead without an agreement on a final document on major UN reform, and on aid development targets aimed at eradicating world poverty.

More than 150 leaders are to attend the summit, which marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the UN at the end of World War II.

The leaders were expected to consider a draft document drawn up by ambassadors of a working party from 30 member countries, including Australia's ambassador to the UN, John Dauth, based on recommendations in a report commissioned by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan and presented to the UN General Assembly six months ago.

The recommendations are far-reaching and include reform of the UN Secretariat, heavily criticised in the Volcker report into the Iraq oil-for-food program, expansion of the Security Council, including new permanent members, an agreed definition of terrorism and reform of the discredited Human Rights Commission.

The proposed reforms also look at new ways of dealing with proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and new rules for UN intervention in countries which are threatening major harm to its citizens - a major change to UN rules which have been based on the inviolability of state sovereignty.
But according to some UN sources, despite weeks of intense negotiation the working groups on the proposed document have failed to agree on virtually any of the major proposed reforms.

The US has refused to accept a 0.7 per cent of GDP target for aid to developing countries and the controversial US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, has suggested major amendments to the draft document, including any reference to the Kyoto Protocol and the World Court.

But one observer said Mr Bolton merely represents the view of the Bush Administration and no US government was going to accept major changes to its policies based on multilateral negotiations.
The US is not the only hold-out on the draft document: it seems that the two groups of developing nations involved in the negotiations have rejected most of the proposals for reform of the UN, including a definition on terrorism and the proposal for UN intervention in states threatening genocide of their own people.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, who will address the UN on Friday, seemed to accept that no draft document would be agreed on for the world leaders to consider. "Even if the discussions break down it shouldn't discount for a moment the tremendous importance of the issues that will be discussed," he said.

No comments: