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UNGA approves series of reforms

india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 15:41 IST

The General Assembly unanimously approved a series of reforms that the US called a long overdue but positive first step toward greater efficiency and accountability in the United Nations.

The 191-member world body adopted the reform resolution on Friday by consensus a week after it lifted a $950 million spending cap on the UN budget over objections from the US, Japan, Australia and Canada, who wanted to keep the lid to press for management reforms.

US deputy ambassador Mark Wallace, who is responsible for UN management and reform issues, told the assembly after the resolution's adoption that the US looks forward to implementation of the reform measures, but "we believe at the same time that critical elements are still missing".

Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed a raft of management reforms a year ago and got world leaders' backing at a summit last September, but developed and developing countries have been at odds over how to implement the measures.

The resolution adopted on Saturday authorises some improvements to the UN's oversight system, approves globally accepted accounting standards for the organisation, establishes an information technology chief and decides to replace the UN's long-outdated information management system.

It authorises Annan "on an experimental basis", to spend up to USD 20 million in 2006-2007 and again in 2008-2009 to meet the UN's needs, which will give the UN chief some budget flexibility.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson welcomed the resolution's adoption by consensus and expressed hope that the "cooperative atmosphere" will prevail.

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