Magazine article UN Chronicle

'Dealing with a Direct Challenge'

Magazine article UN Chronicle

'Dealing with a Direct Challenge'

Article excerpt

In his progress report on the global goals set at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for renewed world unity on security issues following the Iraq war, increased momentum if global development targets are to be met, and re-dedication by wealthy countries to fulfil their pledges to the poor.

The nations of the world should again forge their unity after the divisions over the Iraq war and agree among themselves on what the main threats facing humanity are. In order to be more effective, the international community should also not shy away from consideration of radical reform of the United Nations, as well as of other international bodies.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, to providing universal primary education, all by 2015, can still be reached by the target date if during the remaining 12 years "we maintain and increase the momentum of the last three years", Mr. Annan said at a press conference at UN Headquarters to launch his report, formally titled Report on the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration 2003. "But it depends on Member States being really determined to act on the commitments they have made", he added.

Most of the report was finalized before the tragic attack that struck the United Nations on 19 August, when a terrorist bombing of its Baghdad headquarters took the lives of 22 persons, including the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 14 other UN staff members. Over 100 were wounded,

The full implications of the bombing are still being analyzed. Nevertheless, Mr. Annan called it "a direct challenge to the vision of global solidarity and collective security rooted in the Charter of the United Nations and articulated in the Millennium Declaration", adopted by world leaders at the Millennium Summit. He said the consensus they had shown on world peace and security now looked "less solid than it did three years ago".

In the report, the Secretary-General warns that "the international security architecture ... must be able to adapt to the needs of our time", and notes a worrying lack of consensus about what those needs are.

While some States focus primarily on terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, "for many around the globe, poverty, deprivation and civil war remain the highest priority". …

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