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United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and - page 16 / 38





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observers have noted that U.S. support for certain U.N. reform initiatives can be a liability because some member states may view U.S. support as self-serving. In these cases, the United States may consider allowing like-minded countries advocate its reform agenda.


Identifying Key Priorities — The United States may wish to focus on a small number of reform priorities and pursue them vigorously

in both multilateral and bilateral fora. compromising with other member states on it has identified as lesser priorities.

It may also consider U.N. reform issues that

Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan often stated that U.N. reform is a process and not an event.52 With this in mind, the 110th Congress may wish to continue monitoring the implementation and overall progress of recently-approved reform initiatives. It may also consider future reform initiatives proposed by member states and the Administration, as well as by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon or Members of Congress.

Administration Policy

The United States generally supports the mission and mandate of the United Nations. It played a key role in establishing the United Nations in 1945, and serves as one of five permanent members of the Security Council. Some Administrations have been critical of the United Nations, however, and have advocated sweeping reform of the organization.

The George W. Bush Administration is an active participant in recent U.N. reform efforts. Prior to and since the adoption of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, the Administration attempted to work with like-minded countries and the U.N. Secretary-General to move a reform agenda forward. Some initiatives supported by the United States, particularly management and oversight reforms, were not approved or considered by the General Assembly. In addition, the Administration expressed its displeasure with the overall effectiveness of some previously implemented reforms.53 The Administration has stated, however, that it will continue

51 (...continued) information, see The United States and Multilateral Institutions, edited by Margaret P. Karns and Karen A. Mingst, Unwin Hyman Publishers, 1990, p. 313; and United Nations: Law, Policies and Practice, edited by Rudiger Wolfrum, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1995, p. 70-71.

52 U.N. press release, SG/SM/10089, “Transcript of Press Conference by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at United Nations Headquarters,” September 13, 2005. This is a view shared by many who are involved in formulating U.N. reform policy.

53 On May 25, 2006, then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton stated that overall reform results “have not been particularly encouraging,” and that there have been “no real notable successes so far.” Ambassador Bolton also stated that while the United States does not agree with all of then-Secretary-General Annan’s proposed reforms, it agrees


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