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UNSG candidates lay out vision on world body

Five candidates for the post of next UN Secretary-General have emphasized the need to reform the world body

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 23:34 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Five candidates for the post of next UN Secretary-General, including India's Shashi Tharoor, have emphasized the need to reform the world body to enable it to meet the emerging challenges, respond quickly in conflict situations and play more effective role in post-conflict nation building.

While Tharoor stressed on the need for strengthening the Peace-building Commission by bringing in all stakeholders, Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala saw major failure of the world body in Darfur, Sudan where it has been unable to stop killings despite high-profile reports by its own agencies and other humanitarian outfits.

Afghan candidate Ashraf Ghani said he wanted the world body to foster global stability by investing in legitimate institutions.

The five were responding to comments sought by the International Herald Tribune newspaper on their visions of the United Nations.

South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon, who is currently leading the seven candidates in straw polls, did not respond.

Observing that it was mistake for the UN to pull out of East Timor too soon, Tharoor says it needs to emphasize on the just established Peace-building Commission, a body charged with managing the transition from keeping a peace to building a stable society.

"We need to ensure that the commission becomes effective, pulling together Security Council members, troop contributors and development agencies to help bolster the economies and democratic institutions of countries emerging from conflict," he says.

If the United Nations can act to support democratic forces in post-conflict societies, Tharoor opines, the world body will help fulfill the founding ideals of the Charter while preventing the "horrible waste" of lives, effort and money that occurs when peace, once established, proves too fragile to last.

Observing that failure to prevent violence in Darfur stands an "indictment" against the United Nations, Sri Lanka Jayantha Dhanapala says it exposes the glaring absence of a rapid response mechanism for humanitarian disasters.
The world body, he said, needs a "swiftly deployable" humanitarian disaster management team, made up of experts from different disciplines supplied by member states.

"Members that have advanced satellite reconnaissance technology could provide early warning of disasters, both natural and manmade. And a small, robust force of rapidly deployable troops, with clear rules of engagement approved by the Security Council, would be necessary to protect humanitarian workers from attack or abduction," he added.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 23:34 IST