over the Commission because its structure made it more difficult for countries with poor human rights records to be elected as members. Since the Council began its work in September of 2006, however, some NGOs have been concerned that it has paid too much attention to alleged Israeli human right abuses in Lebanon and in the Occupied Arab Territories.
NGOs closely monitored the progress on management reforms proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 and 2006. On June 8, 2006, 42 organizations delivered a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that offered their “continued support” for the management reforms proposed by Annan. The letter expressed concern with the G-77’s opposition to the reforms, and criticized the United States’ threat to withhold U.N. funding in response to G-77 opposition, which “may have harmful and potentially irreparable effects on our shared goal of improving the United Nations.”97 Other NGOs expressed dissatisfaction with ongoing reform efforts and the work of the United Nations in general. Some believe that the current reform attempts do not go far enough to improve the organization.98
Commissions, Task Forces, and Groups
task forces (hereafter referred to collectivelyas “groups”) have been
established bya varietyof stakeholders, including past secretaries-general, individual
member states, groups of The following paragraphs
member states, NGOs, academic institutions, and will address the findings of a cross-section of these
the Volcker Commission, the U.S. Institute of Peace U.N.
and Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report, In Larger Development, Security, and Human Rights for All.
Reform Task Force, Freedom: Toward
Though the circumstances and mandates for each group are different, they made similar recommendations for improving the United Nations. Notably, each group highlighted the need for enhanced internal oversight and Secretariat reform, including staff buyouts and enhanced financial disclosure requirements. The groups also emphasized the need for overall streamlining and consolidation of the U.N. system (see Appendix B for a side-by-side comparison of the recommendations).
The Volcker Commission. In April 2004, Secretary-General Annan, with the endorsement of the U.N. Security Council, appointed an independent high-level
97 A copy of the June 8, 2006 letter from 42 NGOs to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is available at [http://www.unausa.org/site/pp.asp?c=fvKRI8MPJpF&b=1833403].
See Appendix D for a selection of U.N. reform perspectives and resources.
99 For a discussion on the effectiveness of various U.N. reform groups, see keynote speech at University of Waterloo made by Edward C. Luck, Director of the Center on International Organization at Columbia University, “U.N. Reform Commissions: Is Anyone Listening?” May 16, 2002, available at [http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/cio/cio/projects/waterloo.pdf].