Wednesday, October 19, 2005

UN reform a disaster

From The Australian: Emma-Kate Symons, Paris October 19, 2005 . . .

GARETH Evans has launched a savage attack on UN inertia, condemning the troubled organisation's botched attempt at wholesale reform in its 60th year as a depressing disaster.

. . .Though a strong supporter of the UN, Mr Evans warned that the failure to embrace the panel's reform blueprint, along with disagreements on security questions, development issues, the use of force, disarmament, management and the discredited Human Rights Commission constituted 'a huge wasted opportunity'.

....Speaking at a conference in Paris on the UN and international security challenges, Mr Evans clashed over the outcome of the UN world summit in New York last month with his friend Hans Blix, formerly the UN's chief weapons inspector. After Mr Blix told reporters the UN was in reasonably good shape, suffered from overly high reform expectations and was not gripped by endemic corruption, Mr Evans accused him of "gathering rosebuds of consolation".

According to Mr Evans, the summit was a "deep disappointment". "It needed to be a big leap forward. It wasn't - it was a slow, small crawl and I don't think we've got any reason for any great optimism that we're going to get better than that for a very long time to come. That's a huge wasted opportunity."

More than 175 world leaders at the World Summit endorsed a watered down 35-page reform document that avoided most of the big questions facing the UN such as security council reform and the definition of terrorism.

. . ."If you compare it (the summit outcome) with the hopes and expectations of three months earlier in June, it is close to a disaster. And I say that not because I think expectations were over-inflated," Mr Evans said. He added that the UN system "for all its flaws" had worked positively to reduce conflicts in the past 15 years, but the overall outlook was "depressing".

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