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Annan: Adopt U.N. reform package

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan speaks to the world body's general assembly.
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Kofi Annan

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged world leaders to reconfigure the international body to reflect the world's population and better enable it to tackle environmental and human rights challenges.

In the speech he delivered to the general assembly, Annan urged countries to adopt his entire reform package at a summit of world leaders in September.

The report comes five years after the Millennium Declaration, in which the United Nations pledged to slash poverty rates around the world by 2015, and six months before a summit in New York to address achieving that goal.

Annan described his plan -- which gives equal weight to development, security and human rights -- as a comprehensive strategy.

"Specifically, I ask developing countries to improve their governments, uphold the rule of law, combat corruption and adopt an inclusive approach to development," Annan said.

The report, years in the making, comes days before Paul Volcker is expected to issue a report on Annan's handling of the corrupt oil-for-food program in Iraq. But Annan denied that there was any link.

Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, began leading an independent probe of the program for the United Nations almost a year ago.

Annan's proposal establishes a specific charitable goal for prospering nations. By 2015, he wants developed countries to spend .7 percent of their gross domestic income on official development assistance.

And he linked prosperity and the environment. "Our efforts will be in vain if they are resolved by continued degradation of the environment and depletion of natural resources."

Annan said he wants the Kyoto Protocol extended beyond its 2012 expiration.

Security Council shifts

Annan's proposals include a recommendation to expand the 15-member Security Council to 24 to make it more representative of today's "geopolitical realities."

He recommends three, non-permanent seats with two-year terms and six new permanent seats -- two from Africa, three from Asia and one from Latin America. None would have veto rights.

"Five out of the six will come from regions and areas that are under-represented."

Those seats would be in addition to the permanent seats the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China hold.

Annan also proposed strengthening its human rights mechanisms by abolishing the Commission on Human Rights and replacing it with a smaller, standing Human Rights Council.

Among other changes Annan requested were:

  • Creating a "Democracy Fund" with contributions from member states to provide money and technical assistance to countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democracy.
  • Asking all member states to sign and implement a comprehensive convention on terrorism, "based on a clear and agreed definition" of the term.
  • Strengthening the rule of law, human rights and democracy and clarifying when the use of force is necessary.
  • Reforming the secretariat to make it more transparent, and buying out some employees and replacing them with staffers who have the skills necessary to implement his proposals.
  • Pursuing the establishment of a worldwide early warning system for natural disasters.
  • "What's needed now is not more declarations or promises, but action," Annan said. "I believe my report provides a clear program of action."

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