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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-02-13

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, 13 February 1997


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • United Nations reform is process, not event, UN Secretary- General says.
  • UN Secretary-General expresses support for creation of post of Deputy Secretary-General.
  • Disciplinary action will be taken if required at International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, UN Secretary-General says.
  • UN Environment Programme Governing Council approves work programme and budget for 1998/99, but governance question to be decided later.
  • Ukraine pays US$2 million to UN regular budget and UN Observer Mission in Georgia.
  • UNESCO Director-General stresses partnership in meetings with Russian leaders.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said at a press conference that reform, which is under way, was a process, not an event. A note to correspondents issued today on United Nations reform after Mr. Annan's first six weeks in office says that he is streamlining the Secretariat in ways that are within his authority. It adds that he will seek to work with Member Governments to make those structural changes in the Organisation which can be done only with their approval.

At the press conference, the UN Secretary-General said he will place a report before the membership at the end of July, which would include all the accomplishments from the beginning of the year up until July. He would also make proposals that require governmental approval, and would indicate the next steps.

Mr. Annan pointed out he aimed at working as a system with the United Nations and its agencies, including the Bretton Woods institutions. He noted that in early meetings with the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) they had agreed to work closely together.

"In an effort to restructure the economic and social area, we are not only limiting ourselves to the Secretariat per se, we are looking at the UN, the funds, and the programmes, and the linkages with the other agencies," he said, adding that, in the first phase, he would focus on the Secretariat, the funds and the programmes that are directly dependent on the UN, while, in the next phase, he would focus in the system.

The Secretary-General has asked each department, fund and programme to initiate internal reform reviews to improve management, simplify administration, modernise work methods and achieve effective cost savings. He has also ordered a 25 per cent reduction of paperwork in 1997 by lowering the current page limit for Security Council and General Assembly documents.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed support for the creation of the post of Deputy Secretary-General, and fill it before the end of the year. He pointed out that, however, the post had to be established and funded, and then created.

Mr. Annan said he would seriously consider a woman candidate, adding that there were no candidates at this stage.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said disciplinary action will be taken if required in order to tackle the shortcomings at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda mentioned in a report issued following an investigation by the UN Office for Internal Oversight Service (OIOS).

Mr. Annan stated that urgent measures needed to be taken to strengthen the Tribunal and place it in a better position to carry on its work. "A lot has been done but a lot more needs to be done, and we are going to move expeditiously and if need be, it would include disciplinary actions," he noted.


The 19th session of the Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has produced a strong ministerial statement on the future role and mandate of the Programme. UNEP's programme of work for 1998/99 and a programme budget of US$75 million were approved. The two- week meeting was attended by ministers and high-level government representatives from over 100 countries.

The UNEP secretariat received much praise with regard to its work on environmental law, chemicals, land based sources of marine pollution, and its new state of the environment report - the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-1). However, Governments could not agree on the question of the governance of UNEP.

"This Governing Council has been a great success on most fronts," said Ms. Elisabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of UNEP. "We have made considerable progress on substantive issues like the chemical agenda. Governments have clearly voiced their desire for a strong, independent, adequately funded global environmental organisation."

Two central policy issues dominated the Governing Council's discussions: the governing structures of UNEP, and the nature and substance of UNEP's participation at the June 1997 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21.

With the June meeting in mind, the Governing Council adopted the "Nairobi Declaration on the Role and the Mandate of UNEP." The document will be sent to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for consideration in the ongoing reform process of the United Nations system.


Ukraine made the first payments to the United Nations regular budget and the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) account in the amount of US$2 million. The Permanent Representative of Ukraine, Anatoli M. Zlenko, handed the checks to the Secretary-General during a meeting at UN Headquarters today.

In 1996, Ukraine started to pay off its arrears and contributed US$19.5 million to the Organisation.


UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Director- General Federico Mayor emphasised the partnership between UNESCO and the Russian Federation in separate meetings with Russian Primer Minister Victor Chernomyrdin, Duma President Gennady Seleznev and Mayor Yuri Luzhkiv of Moscow. Mr. Mayor is visiting the Russian Federation from 9 to 14 February.

At their meeting, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin praised UNESCO's activities in his country, noting "UNESCO's full understanding of the complexities of Russia today" and the vital role such an organisation can play in his country's ongoing reform process. He highlighted UNESCO's support for Russia's cultural heritage, which has included raising more than US$2 million to help restore the Hermitage Museum and similar modernisation and restoration campaigns for the Bolshoi Theatre and the Russian State Library.

In a meeting with Mr. Seleznev and other leading parliamentarians, Mr. Mayor pledged UNESCO's continued support for the reform process in the Russian Federation. "Democracy requires true citizenship and true citizenship starts at the municipal level," the Director-General said at a meeting earlier today with Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The two held in- depth discussion in which the Director-General pledged UNESCO's support for festivities to mark Moscow's 850th Anniversary later this year.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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