Annan displays reform zeal by cutting UN flab

Under pressure from Washington to show his credentials as a reformer, the new Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, yesterday unveiled a 10-point plan to streamline the organisation by cutting jobs and phasing out departments.

Most notably, Mr Annan has ordered the elimination of an additional 1,000 posts from the United Nations bureaucracy from an already slimmed-down workforce of 9,000. He has set a 1998-99 budget, meanwhile, that will be $123m (pounds 76m) lower than the previous one.

By showing his willingness to cut what has traditionally been an ever- expanding budget, Mr Annan is hoping to quell carping from Capitol Hill that the UN soaks up too much money.

In a veiled appeal to the United States to respond by paying its $1.3bn in UN debts, he said: "We will deliver [on reform] and I hope that they will deliver their part of the bargain".

Other steps include merging three departments dealing with economic and social issues at UN headquarters into one and a commitment to revamp the secretariat's much-criticised information department.

The Secretary General is also asking for the consolidation of all UN agencies in beneficiary countries with the establishment of single UN premises and the appointment of one UN special representative per country. The European Union has lobbied hard for such a change.

The 10 points represent the most obvious and easiest elements of reform. But Mr Kofi's proposals for broader changes, which will have to be approved by the UN membership, are still to come. They are certain to be more problematic.

Mr Annan has promised to address these issues in a comprehensive package of proposals in July. They include expanding the Security Council membership, consolidating some of the myriad UN agencies around the world and re-jigging the formula for national contributions to the budget.

Yesterday's first steps were welcomed by Sir John Weston, the British ambassador. "It shows he has the reform bit between his teeth and we shall certainly be supporting them," he said.

Sir John also directed some comments at members of Congress who insist on setting standards, or so-called benchmarks, for reform before considering the payment of dues. "I hope these proposals get support from all quarters," he said, "and that we can all approve them instead of constantly making demands for more benchmarks".

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam