Magazine article UN Chronicle

The UN Will Fulfill the Trust of the World's Peoples

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The UN Will Fulfill the Trust of the World's Peoples

Article excerpt

"The United Nations has completed 50 years. Today we open the door to a second half-century. We have a choice to make and only we can make it. Will we walk through the door to the future with faith and determination and in solidarity? Or will it be with the voices of scepticism, criticism and neoisolationism ringing in our ears?"

This was the question Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali posed to delegates as he opened the historic fiftieth anniversary session of the General Assembly on 19 September.

He answered his own question by adding that, at every level, there was an awareness that the UN, for all its setbacks, had been recognized for having done so much, so well and in such a short span of time. The UN was widely viewed as representing and engaging in causes that humanity held most dear, he said.

"This fiftieth session will be watched by the people of the world. We will fulfil their trust. We will work to realize their dreams," Mr. Boutros-Ghali declared.

During the historic anniversary session, the Assembly was to focus on the issues that have been stressed in the UN Charter - peace and security, and economic and social development. It was also to discuss strengthening and reforming the Organization to fulfil Charter goals.

The UN must

be preserved

Diogo Freitas do Amaral of Portugal, elected Assembly President by acclamation on 19 September, picked up on the theme of reform in his opening statement. Despite its failures in the past 50 years, he said that the UN had achieved its principal goal of preventing a third world war. It had also contributed decisively to progress in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As the only universal international Organization, the UN must be preserved, although it should be reformed where it was shown to be faulty, inefficient or out of tune with current conditions. The 50th anniversary was an especially appropriate time to reform the Organization, he added.

The spirit of reform could be created and sustained during the fiftieth session of the Assembly, he said. "But if we fail to seize this opportunity, the occasion may be lost for many years to come."

The revision of some articles and provisions of the UN Charter was a timely and necessary task, Mr. Freitas do Amaral went on. "I do not think, however, that this needs to be done all at once. An incremental approach may be preferable, provided that consistency is maintained among the different reforms."

He said that the spectacular growth in the number of Member States had had its proper impact on the General Assembly, but the same was not true of the Security Council, which did not adequately reflect the political, economic, demographic and national realities of today's world. Council reform was therefore required and urgent, but it could not be carried out if "national selfishness or domestic electoral considerations in Member countries are superimposed on the necessary spirit of cooperation and consensus", he added.

In his annual report on the work of the Organization (A/50/1), the Secretary-General also spoke of reform and reorganization. He said it was evident that the 50th anniversary had created a spirit and a momentum that went well beyond the commemoration and celebration expected at such a point in time.

Virtually every dimension of the UN had been energized. New realities were being used as the basis for reassessment and redesign. Successes were being built upon. A new spirit of cooperation at every level and on virtually every issue was within the s of wider contingent of commuted people than ever before.

It would be important to continue the major efforts launched this year to enable the UN, as an institution, to become more intellectually creative, more financially stable, more managerially effective and more responsive to all sectors of society, the Secretary-General added. …

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