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UN summit adopts modest reform package

[JURIST] The UN General Assembly High-level Plenary Friday evening approved a watered-down [JURIST report] 35-page package of modest institutional reforms and global policy initiatives in the culminating moment of the biggest summit [official World Summit 2005 website; JURIST news archive] of heads of state and government in UN history. Progress was made in condemning terrorism in all its forms, accepting clear responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing, renewing the battle against poverty, hunger and disease, and establishing a new Peacebuilding Commission [UN SG backgrounder]. UN member states did not, however, reach any new agreements in the critical areas of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and Security Council reform. Delegates supported the creation of a new Human Rights Council [UN SG backgrounder], but its details have still to be worked out by the General Assembly and it's as yet unclear whether it will be able to avoid the political problems that have compromised [JURIST report] the current Human Rights Commission. Addressing concerns over management failures and allegations of corruption at the UN, leaders urged Secretary-General Kofi Annan to create an internal ethics office and develop a new set of ethics guidelines, but did not give him the sweeping managerial authority he had sought. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson [Wikipedia profile] said earlier that Annan had asked him to lead a group of world leaders to keep momentum behind reform efforts going in the wake of the summit. Review the draft summit outcome document [PDF text, approved with corrections; UN summary, PDF] and read a background news release. AP has more.

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