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United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and - page 10 / 38





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Appeals Tribunal.27 The resolution establishes formal and informal channels to protect U.N. staff facing disciplinary action, and provides additional accountability among staff, especially managers.28 The current internal justice system is criticized by member states for being “slow, cumbersome, ineffective, and lacking in professionalism.”29 The system is backlogged with cases and many of its employees lack formal legal training or qualifications.

Mandate Review. The Outcome Document negotiated by member states at the 2005 U.N. World Summit called for a systematic review of all U.N. mandates five years or older, a process that has never before been undertaken. Member states are currently reviewing mandates in the Working Group of the Plenary on Secretariat and Management Reform, but progress is slow due to resistance from some countries that fear that mandates important to them will be discarded. If the working group recommends a mandate for removal, the General Assembly would need to amend the resolution that established the mandate. In November 2006, the first phase of mandate review, which examined all mandates five years or older that have not been renewed, was completed.30 The second phase of review is currently underway and focuses on mandates five years or older that have been renewed. On May 23, 2008, U.N. member states reached preliminary agreement on the status of humanitarian assistance mandates. On June 20, 2008, member states began reviewing the cluster of mandates on African Development.31

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. Reform

On December 14, 2006, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea took the oath of office to succeed outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Annan.32 Ban stated that U.N. reform is “the most pressing and principled issue of today,” and that it will be a top priority

27 These tribunals replace the Joint Disciplinary Committee and Joint Appeals Board. The current internal justice system was established in the late 1940s and was designed to administer internal justice for only several thousand employees in very few locations.

28 Resolution A/RES/61/261 also abolishes the Panels on Discrimination and Other Grievances, and transfers responsibility to the U.N. Office of the Ombudsman. The office will “encourage staff to seek resolution through the informal system,” and will also house a Mediation Division to provide mediation services for the staff in the Secretariat and in U.N. funds and programs.


U.N. documents, A/RES/61/261, April 4, 2007.

30 The working group’s report designated 74 mandates as completed and referred discussions on the Regular Programme for Technical Cooperation (RPTC) mandate to other relevant bodies for further evaluation and analysis. The working group’s status report on Phase I of mandate review is available at [http://www.centerforunreform.org/system/files/Status+ Report_Nov.+27.pdf].

31 For more information see, “General Assembly Begins Review of African Development Mandates,”Reformtheun.org, July 1, 2008. For general information on U.N. mandate review efforts, see [http://www.un.org/mandatereview/].

32 Prior to becoming U.N. Secretary-General, Ban was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the Republic of Korea. A biography of Secretary-General Ban is available at [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sg2118.doc.htm].

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