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National Self-Interest and Differing Reform Perspectives. Each U.N. member state has its own political agenda and foreign policy goals, and may also have its own definition of U.N. reform. As a result, member states often hold differing views on how best to implement reform and how to measure the success or failure of a given reform initiative. In some cases, failure to reach consensus can lead to significant delay, or failure, of certain reform initiatives. Some member states package their policy priorities as U.N. reform to further their own policy goals. This can cause distrust among member states as countries question whether reform proposals by other member states are based on self-interest or a genuine desire to improve the U.N. system.

Competing Priorities. Some observers cite the inability of U.N. member states or secretaries-general to effectively prioritize reform initiatives as an obstacle

to

U.N.

reform.

When

proposals, for example, he

Secretary-General requested that they

Annan presented his 2005 reform be adopted by the General Assembly

not in series

increments, but as a package of reforms.115 Instead of of reform proposals, some observers argue that member

considering a large states should select

only a few reform priorities and work Others contend that the most efficient

toward way to

their adoption and implementation. achieve reform may be for member

states first to adopt reform initiatives they can agree to and then toward tackling the more divisive and complicated reform issues.

gradually

work

Organizational Structure and Bureaucracy. The United Nations is a highly complex and decentralized organization, and therefore may be slow to consider or implement potential reforms. Some argue that there is a “culture of inaction”116 in the United Nations, and that U.N. managers and staff are resistant to the implementation of new programs or changes to existing programs. Manycontend that prospective and agreed-to reforms lack clear plans for implementation, including deadlines and cost estimates. They stress that this overall lack of planning may affect

the progress and ultimate reforms currently being

success of reforms already implemented, as considered by the General Assembly. 117

well as those Some also

emphasize that without proper implementation plans and follow-up, states will be unable to adequately gauge the overall effectiveness of

U.N. member reforms.

Limited Resources. Many observers note that a significant challenge for U.N. reform efforts may be the effective implementation of reforms within the

current U.N. Commission, resources.” 118

budget. Some were established

reform initiatives, by member states

such as the Peacebuilding to operate “within existing

Many

argue

that

the

existing

U.N.

budget

limits

may

not

be

able

to

support all of the reform initiatives currentlybeing considered.

Some member states,

115 “The Secretary-General’s Statement to the General Assembly,” New York, March 21, 2005, available at [http://www.un.org/largerfreedom/sg-statement.html].

116

“Annan’s ‘Culture of Inaction.’” The Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2006.

117 U.S. Government Accountability Office Report, GAO-07-14, United Nations Management Reforms Progressing Slowly with Many Awaiting General Assembly Review, October 2006.

118

U.N. document, A/RES/60/1, 2005 World Summit Outcome, September 16, 2005.

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