Reform Efforts (1997 to 2005)
Kofi Annan ran for Secretary-General on a platform of reform and introduced many reform proposals during his tenure, most notably in 1997, 2002, and 2005. Annan also appointed several independent panels and commissions to propose reforms on specific issues, such as the effectiveness of U.N. peacekeeping operations.6 Annan first proposed a “two track” reform program that recommended cutting Secretariat administrative costs, combining three smaller departments into one large Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and creating the post of Deputy Secretary-General.7 Over time, some of these early reform initiatives were achieved.8 In September 2002, Annan proposed additional reforms, including a reorganization of the budget and planning system to make it less complex; a thorough review of the U.N. work program; establishing a high-level panel to examine the relationship between the United Nations and civil society; improving U.N. human rights protection; and enhancing U.N. information services.9
In September 2003, Annan appointed a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change to evaluate how the United Nations addressed present-day threats to international peace and security.10 The Panel recommended enlarging the U.N. Security Council, establishing a Peacebuilding Commission, and enhancing the
recommendations in his 2005 report, Security, and Human Rights for All. 11
5 (...continued) Services (OIOS) to enhance and improve oversight in the United Nations.
6 Annan appointed a special panel on U.N. Peace Operations in March 2000 to make recommendations for improving the peacekeeping system. The panel’s recommendations were consolidated into what is known as the “Brahimi Report.” A number of the report’s recommendations, such as increasing the number of staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, were implemented. Other recommendations, particularly those involving U.N. member state personnel commitments for deployment, have yet to be achieved.
7 Annan subsequently outlined the thematic and technical aspects of these reform proposals in his report, Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform, (A/51/950, July 14, 1997) which was endorsed by the General Assembly on December 19, 1997.
8 Completed reforms include establishment of a strategic planning unit; creation of a senior management group; establishment of a Department for Disarmament and Arms regulation; creation of the Deputy-Secretary-General position; and the establishment of a U.N. Development Group to better coordinate U.N. development mechanisms and programs.
9 U.N. document, A/57/387, September 9, 2002, Strengthening the United Nations: An Agenda for Further Change. Some of the 2002 reform proposals were implemented, including centralization of U.N. information around regional hubs, starting with Western Europe; strengthening the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the establishment of a policy planning unit in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
10 The Panel’s report, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, was released on December 2, 2004, and is available at [http://www.un.org/secureworld/].
See “Commissions, Task Forces, and Groups” section for more information on the report, (continued...)