Reforms at the United Nations
Contrary to the Jan. 9 editorial "Globalization's Deficit," efforts to reform the United Nations have progressed significantly since last year's World Summit. The United Nations has created a Peacebuilding Commission to guide and support nation-building efforts in post-conflict areas, and a Democracy Fund that had been advocated by the Bush administration. Negotiations for a Human Rights Council are proceeding. Management reforms have been implemented, including the creation of an Ethics Office to administer new whistleblower and financial disclosure policies for U.N. staff.
Other changes include a more transparent hiring process and creation of an independent audit board to oversee management practices. Finally, the 2006-07 U.N. budget is tied to the completion of reform initiatives.
The United Nations is making a difference on global challenges. For example, it provided invaluable support to the United States in laying the groundwork for a political transition in Iraq, most recently by providing assistance for the December elections and acknowledging their legitimacy. The Security Council also is investigating Syria's involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and helping to free the Lebanese from Syrian control.
Like the world, the United Nations is imperfect, but it is being reinvented to meet the challenges of the 21st
TIMOTHY E. WIRTH
United Nations Foundation