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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Can UN reform restore confidence?
UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown

The US and Britain have rejected allegations by UN chief Kofi Annan that they turned a blind eye to oil smuggling by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Mr Annan suggested the two had inadequately policed UN sanctions against Iraq, enabling the regime to earn huge amounts in illegal deals.

Mr Annan was recently criticised for his handling of the affair, leading to calls for his resignation.

Rather than step down, the Secretary General wants to restore confidence in the UN through a series of far-reaching reforms.

His proposals include enlarging the Security Council and replacing the UN Human Rights Commission.

What do you think of Mr Annan's comments? What should be the UN's role in the world? What needs to be done to restore confidence in the organisation? Send us your views.

We discussed UN reforms with Kofi Annan's chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown, in our global phone-in programme, Talking Point. You can watch or hear the programme again by clicking on the links above.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The US has been trying to undermine the UN for a long time
Ann Coffey, Ottawa, Canada
The US has been trying to undermine the UN for a long time. The US is the only member state that does not pay its membership fees, so why hasn't it been kicked out? The UN should move to Europe or it could be wiped out by US self-interest.
Ann Coffey, Ottawa, Canada

The sooner this irrelevant relic of gas bags officially ceases to exist, the better. In this age of instant worldwide communication, who needs a place where elite vacuous suits can grandstand? The world wide web can do the job of connecting the world better than the UN.
Tim, Milwaukee, USA

I wonder how many people in this debate have actually read the UN charter. I have and it is clearly a flawed document. It talks a lot about flowery ideals of peace and human hights, but fails to define them. Until the UN enshrines democracy as the fundamental human right and the primary qualification for membership, it will remain a tool of third world dictatorships to prop up their evil, opressive regimes.
Matt Johnson, Guam, USA

Unfortunately for Mr Annan he just happens to be another political figure which makes him a prime magnet for criticism and corruption. His comments are nothing but comments unless put into action, which is what the UN lacks.
Jeff Stuart, Montreal, Canada

The only way to restore confidence in the United Nations is to disband it
John Moore, LA, USA
The only way to restore confidence in the United Nations is to disband it. The so called UN Human Rights Commission is a total joke. Many US taxpayers have had it with the UN. They are now questioning the US Government and demanding that we get out.
John Moore, LA, USA

The UN does not simply represent countries - it represents the world's third class citizens. Ngos, non-profit groups and civil society all heavily depend on the UN. It brings a spirit of hope for the most remote and abused people in the world. It has served as the megaphone to oppressed voices. By eliminating the UN the world's third sector may forever be silenced.
Amina Chaudary, Boston, MA, US

The UN as a world body needs to play a pivotal role in solving various problems of Third World nations and war-affected countries like Iraq and Afghanisthan. It needs to get out of the American shadow and function independently and fearlessly so that it will be a world body in true sense of the term.
Nawal Thorat, Aurangabad, India

The first place to start would be the Security Council. Get rid of it and let democracy run issues of world security at the UN. No more elite countries in the UN. Let every country vote on these issues.
Dave, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Too many intelligent people lose sight of the fact that much of the current controversies and attacks on Mr Annan are spurred by the White House press corps, especially after the allegation that the Bush administration acted illegally in attacking Iraq.
Stephen Redner, Nice, France

There is a very strong ongoing need for the UN
David Reiter, Brooklyn, NY
There is a very strong ongoing need for the UN as a forum and vehicle for the international community to take action when there exists a moral imperative. Unfortunately, the real agendas of the UN have been hijacked by countries like Germany and France to further their own parochial political goals. From the killing fields of Cambodia, to Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan, Darfur, and Saddam using poison gas against the Kurds, where was the UN?
David Reiter, Brooklyn, NY

Your speaker from the UN must think everyone listening is a fool. On the one hand he continually uses the phrase 'meddling of the member nations', saying if only those pesky people paying their salaries would leave the UN alone they would do better. But on the other, whenever the accusation is that they have failed to act, and specifically on Darfur, he trots out 'the member states will not give us what we need'. Convenient that he has found a way to blame the members in all cases, and in no instance is the UN organization itself held to account.
Sherry Wickham, Indianapolis, IN, United States

To those ignorant Americans who believe that financing the affairs of the UN gives the US the right to expect the UN to do whatever it wants, I say, feel free to walk out. And then feel free to come back begging when UN is doing a much better and efficient job in Europe or Africa or Asia.
Susanne Plate, Germany

The UN is useless
Randy, Los Angeles CA, USA
The UN was unable to stop America from conducting an illegal war against Iraq and will not be able to stop it from other illegal acts against countries such as Iran and North Korea. Therefore it is useless.
Randy, Los Angeles CA, USA

Most of the comments coming from America are based on misinformation. The United Nations is more important now than at any time in its history. Mr Annan is right when he states that the war in Iraq is illegal. No nuclear bombs were found in Iraq, but a huge amount of the population here still wants to believe that we went to war to destroy Saddam's arsenal. The current administration in Washington would like nothing more than to destroy the United Nations, just as it is destroying this country.
Clifton, Oakland, CA USA

I am fed up with the Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy. You, US and UK, are as responsible as any other country of what is UN: you are part of it. If it is corrupted and ineffective it is because you are corrupted and ineffective. I believe Annan when he says US and UK were aware of the corruption. I fully support him.
N. Gibert, Paris, France

The UN is doing as well as it can given the massive pressure it is under from the two criminal regimes trying to undermine it and break its rules: the US and the UK. I commend Kofi Annan for not buckling under the pressure.
Jim Longwill, Portland, OR, USA

At least the UN acknowledges its mistakes and tries to rectify them which is more than can be said for the US or most other countries.
Peter, Netherlands

The UN is a super idea and a total mess
Ibrahim, Egypt
The UN is a super idea and a total mess. It is a mix of double-standards, stalemate and corruption. Its security council is a relic of the Cold War. The permanent members veto undermines everything. The problem, of course, is that the big boys want the playground all to themselves. How dare the US complain the UN doesn't work? They bent it to their will since the start!
Ibrahim, Egypt

The UN has lost its credibility and the events leading up to the US intervention in Iraq is proof of this. There is definitely a need for reform within the UN if it intends to regulate the happenings of the world without being intimidated by the United States of America. The US has constantly undermined the role of the UN and this should not be tolerated. Reform is the way to go so as to be able to deal with a country such as the US and any other that seeks to undermine the role of the UN
Kadia, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies

The UN long ago ceased to be an organisation really able to further the cause of peace in the world. It has its place in humanitarian projects but otherwise it is nothing more than a place where pencil pushing diplomats gather and make speeches which no one listens to. I do not think it will be around 20 years from now.
Michael Parker, Washington DC USA

The UN has a long way to go to restore American confidence in it. Also the Americans have a far longer road to go to restore the rest of the world's confidence. One country cannot rule everything on this planet, even that some people might think this is possible. The UN needs to be totally independent from the influence of individual countries. All the countries should accept the decisions made by the UN, and honour these decisions. If this does not happen the UN can never perform correctly.
Janne, Bedford, England

Change should be made and agreed upon by ALL members of the UN
J Gomer, UK
Of course the UN needs to reform, as will any organisation over time. What it does NOT need to do is to become just another tool of the US in its quest for world domination. Change should be made and agreed upon by ALL members of the UN. It's time we all got a say, not just the US and its buddies. Democracy is the way forward.
J Gomer, UK

I am afraid that the US desire to 'reform' the UN amounts to nothing less than a drive to dominate it. Given the US lack of understanding for internationalism or for the rule of law, this is a worrying tendency. What critics forget is that the UN helped us get through the Cold War. If it is reformed in such a way as to serve US interests, the UN will truly become irrelevant and untrustworthy. Our collective goal should be the prevention of another world war (between any two parties). I don't believe Americans really understand that.
Luke, Canada

Everyone agrees the UN needs reform, beginning with the UN themselves. Is this not why an expert panel was formed? The problem is it seems no reform would satisfy Ms Rice and Mr Bush if it does not mean the UN becomes subjects to the interests of the US. It is important for the United Nations to achieve a transformation that doesn't only answer to the needs of one state, powerful as it may be.
Paco Godefroy, México DF, México

I have personally written some of the reports that no one reads, sat in global meetings which cost millions but amount to no quantifiable outputs at the end of the day
Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, Fiji Islands

I have personally written some of the reports that no one reads, sat in global meetings which cost millions but amount to no quantifiable outputs at the end of the day. Kofi Annan might be a good guy but the UN should be scrapped and then someone can find him a real job. The world is being ravaged by Aids and the Rwandas and Darfurs continue whilst they sit in gilded cages and twiddle their thumbs.
Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, Suva, Fiji Islands

Whatever the degree to which the reforms are implemented might be, the UN must exist. In its short 60-year history, the UN has made progress in solving problems that no single country or regional organisation could ever begin to address, and there is simply no other forum where the world's political leaders can sit down and discuss meaningful issues that affect all the world's citizens.
Dwight Best, New York City, NY, USA

Change is the substance of any organisation. I can't imagine the UN remaining a stable structure without any transformations at various levels of its existence and operations. However, we must remember - it is to remain an organisation of United Nations. No nation should be the leading one, this is not what democracy is about.
Michael Dziewonski, Krakow, Poland

The United Nations has fundamental, crippling flaws that no reform can fix. The United Nations policy of impartiality, for example, fuels global chaos. When you turn a blind eye to a conflict, you allow the aggressors to continue their horrors. The United Nations also fails to make a moral judgement. It is a transparent, politicised body, contributing to the world's instability.
Aaron Hakim, Misissauga, Canada

Along with their headquarters sitting on some of the most valuable land on earth (at our expense), we also contribute 24% of their budget
Sean, Wilmington, USA

Along with their headquarters sitting on some of the most valuable land on earth (at our expense), we also contribute 24% of their budget. Of course our politicians have extra influence. But does the average American care about the UN? How about we take our $363 billion, take out $75b and start some sort of social medicine here, and give the rest to the World Bank?
Sean, Wilmington, NC, USA

Having your cake and eating it is a very dangerous road for the US to travel on this issue. How can they possibly justify taking Kofi Annan to task? They are effectively holding the reins of the UN, and holding it to ransom whenever they perceive that their interests are jeopardised. Have they forgotten that with the power comes the responsibility?
Martin Blowers, Auckland, New Zealand

The UN is totally useless and should be disbanded. All it does is talk. If you want proof, look no further than Darfur in Sudan. They have known what has been going on there for months, and while they talk and give all the politically correct posturing people are still dying. How many ultimatums have been given in that scenario? What's been done other than talk and pull back whenever their troops are in threatening positions?

What good has the UN been to those victims? Renegade countries know how useless the UN is and that's why they continue to do what they do. Do us all a favour, stop playing your political games trying to convey a sense of political morality, it's not working - ask the people in the refugee camps in Darfur.
Nick Burtenshaw, Tokoroa, New Zealand

It can't have been easy standing up to the US
Njameh, The Gambia
Kofi Annan is a very honourable man and has had a very difficult job. It can't have been easy standing up to the US during the war in Iraq. This corruption scandal was very unfortunate but he cannot be blamed for mistakes made by his son. I commend Annan for his great work. He represents the face of success of every black man in this decade.
Njameh, The Gambia

It's time for Annan to resign. He is trying to shift blame from himself and his son. The Secretary General needs to be above this sort of corruption but instead, he is in the middle of it. If the US and UK are to blame in his eyes, then he needs to face his own responsibility as well.
Matt E, California, USA

The United Nations should be thrown out of the United States and let some other country deal with its problems and expenses. The UN has never had any real power anyway.
Jack Vahe, Delavan, WI, USA

The UN should continue to reform, evolve and adapt to the current global situation as we all have to do. Annan should not be intimidated by US hawks who hate the UN for daring to impose restrictions on its unilateralist policies. The US has stated that it wants full spectrum dominance and he represents the only organisation with the might to resist. If the UN requires any reforms it should be given teeth to uphold its resolutions, including those that are being transgressed by Israel and the US.
Scott Clarke, London

There is no need for a non-functional organization like the UN
Kriss Adams, Cypress, CA, USA
This is the 21st Century. There is no need for a non-functional organization like the UN. All those billions of dollars can be put to a better use. Leaders can teleconference and discuss world problems. A smaller organization should be founded to monitor world hunger, human rights and disease.
Kriss Adams, Cypress, CA, USA

Blaming the US and Britain is another of his many excuses for the UN oil for food scandal. As Secretary General what was he doing? He claims he knew nothing of his son's involvement or what was going on within the programme; if that's the case then he wasn't doing his job. If he is serious about restoring confidence then he should step down.
Allan, Delta BC Canada

How can an organization like the UN function credibly if brawling with two if its strongest financial sponsors? I applaud Mr Annan for his efforts, bravery and perseverance.
Sean Roy, Houston, TX USA

The UN IS doing something really useful - it is showing why it is not a good idea to try to set up a one world government. Let the UN's massive corruption and pompous uselessness be the gleaming neon stop sign that says go no further in this direction.
Dave M, Tonopah USA

The UN is doing a good job, especially under Kofi Annan
Miles, Zurich, Switzerland
I think the UN is doing a good job, especially under Kofi Annan. The US and UK have weakened its position by undermining its authority with the Iraq war. After reading some of the comments from US I am surprised they believe the UN will collapse without their membership, they are, after all, just one country.
Miles, Zurich, Switzerland

The concept of veto needs to be deleted from the UN Charter and the Security Council should be expanded. After all, isn't democracy the same ideology the West is trying to export?
Mohammed, Portsmouth

The UN would be a great institution if its members would stop interfering, allow it to perform its functions and abide by its conventions.
Adjoa, UK

The UN is what the members make of it. The powerful countries do what they want with it. The body would function much better without US arm twisting and arrogance.
Sorren Kimble, Leeds

No country is going to put the UN before its own individual interests
Alan Baker, Chelmsford, Essex
No country is going to put the UN before its own individual interests. Without the US or NATO, the UN would be a talking shop with no power or influence. As for Mr Annan, he should resign at once. He come across as a failed politician putting forward his own views rather than those of the council.
Alan Baker, Chelmsford, Essex

When other nations like Nigeria South Africa are given permanent membership of the Security Council, it will give room for diverse view and better reform.
Suleyman Odapu, Lafia, Nigeria

The UN sat back and watched genocide in Rwanda and continues to do the same in Sudan; it did nothing when Saddam ignored sanctions and kicked the UN out of the country, no wonder the US ignored it. It freely accepts dictators in its ranks, while expecting the democratic nations to pay for it. Now Kofi Annan, who is implicated in the scandal, tries to shift the blame onto others.
Chris, UK

Gross incompetence has cost the UN any and all credibility it could possibly have, and neither Annan's reforms nor Bolton's bullishness can change this. By letting Saddam Hussein ignore resolution after resolution, and then blaming and criticizing the US for finally enforcing the resolutions against Iraq, the UN began its slide into irrelevance. Coupled with the mass corruption under the Oil for Food program, sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers in Africa, and general disregard for human rights worldwide, this failed experiment can finally be laid to rest. Can you imagine a world without the greedy UN bureaucracy, where your country's safety and welfare does not depend on pointless resolutions or the veto power of the French?
Drew, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

The UN sure needs a lot of reforms if the powers that be will allow it. The UN involvement in Iraq has been questionably faulty, and the risk its personnel are facing in Congo has called for sweeping reforms in its military strategies. These reforms no doubt will have to start from the very top - the Security Council. May God help you succeed Annan.
Andy Mbeke, Lagos, Nigeria

To improve the UN it would be enough to remove the right of veto to the five privileged nations. Would you join a club where five members would have a right of veto on any decision?
Anteo Sergovich, Istria, Croatia

The only way the UN will ever gain the confidence of the world again is when they actually start seeing the world as it is, rather than as they wish. Iraq was the start of their irrelevance because after issuing over a decade worth of resolutions and actually being thrown out of Iraq by Saddam in 1998, they didn't have the guts to back up their own words. Someone else had to fulfil the UN's obligation. Kofi needs to go because of his lack of leadership and the corruption that has surrounded him, there needs to be tighter accountability in the UN ranks.
Jeff, Bay City, MI, USA

I think that they are doing quite a good job
Richard Hedlund, Sweden
Leave the UN be, let them do their job as good as they can. I think that they are doing quite a good job at the moment.
Richard Hedlund, Stockholm, Sweden

The UN is a mid 20th century answer to problems of the last millennium. It's grown and evolved into a top-heavy, purposeless, bureaucracy whose only function seems to be to keep hordes of pen-pushers in jobs at the taxpayer's expense. Attempts at the reform of a moribund organisation are futile - time to kill it off, or at least slim it down.
David Moran, Nr Aberdeen, Scotland

Get rid of the veto. The UN will become more equitable if the countries that vote yes to a resolution agree to finance and man any actions called for. Do not expect a country that votes 'no' to contribute. And every country should pay an equal amount.
Kim, Montana, US

As a body incorporating the views of so many different countries, the UN can only offer toothless opinions designed to keep everyone happy. It is a forum for debate not action. It takes individual countries with real resources and will to actually get something done.
Victor, London

United Nations should be relocated to Europe to avoid interference, meddling and unnecessary influence from the United States. This is the first step to reform the UN in order to restore confidence. EU can provide excellent leadership in the UN.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

Let Europe start pouring in the aid we currently give to this limp biscuit
Alex, USA
I get so tired of reading about how everything wrong with the UN is the USA's fault. Obviously, people don't dig very deep for their facts. A solution; move the UN to France. Let Europe start pouring in the aid we currently give to this limp biscuit. Have fun bashing someone else for awhile.
Alex, USA

UN reform can be called successful only if it can show that it is independent to any specific country and all members respect the result that UN generates. Otherwise UN is not considered as successfully reformed, as countries can do what they want, by ignore the UN (like US for the Iraq war).
Chun Wa (Michael), Lau, Toronto, Canada

The failures, problems and shortcomings of the UN are not the fault of the institution itself. Rather it is the fault of the members more so than the senior bureaucrats that work there. As in national ministries where the political masters are responsible, it would be the same here and the nations are responsible.. in both cases the bureaucrats are left to hold the baby and do the work. The glory and success is monopoly of temporary bosses and fallout is of the bureaucrats
Moiz Mohsin, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The UN is a joke. I have watched them sit on the sidelines and do nothing. I, for one, am sick of paying for the UN. Our city and country pay the most to be in this so called club. The people of the US are fed up with the UN and want it out.
Barbara, New York City, USA

It is obvious that UN in its present shape is not functioning in a way it is supposed to function. It is also not disputable that it should have a paramount role in fostering cooperation and maintaining peace and security among countries of the world. To that end, powerful (politically and economically) countries such as the US should not interfere visibly or invisibly in its actions and decisions. It is only then it will be possible to restore confidence in it and see it doing what it is supposed to do.
Mesfin Awoke Bekalu, Trondheim, Norway

US should pull out of the UN and the UN should pull out of New York
William L Donlon, USA
The vast majority of Americans believe the US should pull out of the UN and the UN should pull out of New York. I am one of them. Americans favour a new period of Isolationism where we with draw from World Affairs, come home, close the borders and the cheque book. Watch the 2008 elections.
William L Donlon, Rochester, New York, USA

The world is not intellectually mature enough for an effective UN. The reforms needed are obvious and legion... but none of it is going to happen while national interests dominate members' thinking. All that is required right now is a rearranging of the flower pots. One day the world will grow up, but we're a long way from that nirvana (or nightmare, depending on your school of thought).
Mark M Newdick, Danbury, CT, USA

Can UN reform restore confidence? I think The Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, has been an excellent diplomat for the Darfur, Sudan. Remember that the pledged amount of around 3.6 billion dollars turned out to be more than expected 4.5 billion dollars and was better than the expected pledges.
Firozali A Mulla, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The UN is a diplomatic club, not a world government. People who have lost confidence in the UN had false expectations anyway. It needs major re factoring to do its diplomatic role more successfully. But don't expect the UN to save all the worlds problems. Its function stops once all governments have agreed on a principle.
Jeffrey Lake, London, UK

The main problem in the UN system as a whole stems from its system of grading staff. In the normal world, staff get salary increments for competency and length of service. In the UN the word "promotion" equates with a salary increase. However, to qualify for either, staff must move from their area of competence into unknown pastures. Loss of competency is therefore automatic and unavoidable. Incompetence is so rife that the only action is to sack the lot and begin again. The UN promotion system where staff are graded like eggs, mocks competency and intelligence.
JP, Switzerland

The UN (United Nations) should be scrapped and replaced with the UC "United Countries". Basically the same organisation with the same rules, just no "permanent security council". Each country should get an equal vote, with no one country having the right to Veto. The problem at the moment is that the US has too much control in the UN and simply manipulates it for it's own needs.
Nathan Hobbs, Luton, UK

No government takes its resolutions seriously and no one listens to what the UN has to say
Paul Campbell, Sheffield
The UN is a pointless piece of bureaucracy. It is irrelevant and about as effective as trying to stop a charging rhino with a paper tissue. No government takes its resolutions seriously and no one listens to what the UN has to say. The ideology behind the whole UN concept is sound, but needs revisiting to make it an effective entity rather than the anomalous being it has become. It should be restructured and made more relevant to the world today.
Paul Campbell, Sheffield

The main reason for the decline in the UN's power is the Iraq war. America and Britain ignored it and that started the slide. Why should any other country take any notice of the UN when the Alliance didn't?
Andy K, Berks

If the UN wants confidence in it restored, all it needs to do is SOMETHING rather than always sitting on the sidelines. The UN of the recent past is a UN which has stood by and watched the Rwanda genocide happen, ignored seventeen standing resolutions against Saddam Hussein's regime, turned a blind eye to shady "Oil For Food" dealings and that is currently repeating the Rwanda mistake in Sudan. Calling a genocide a "declining humanitarian situation" is pathetic and deplorable.
Ed, Minnesota, USA

I worked for the United Nations for 30 years in five of its specialized agencies. As indeed reported by the BBC, the SG report on human rights shows what amounts to individual interests versus collective interests. It is a diplomatic environment with a diplomatic aura which means there are more words than action. In order to change, the organization would have to be set in an alternative environment where the governments do not have the power to interfere. But this seems highly unlikely.
Brenda van Eeden, Gex, France

The idea that dictatorships and democracies can be considered as equals is a revolting notion
Matt Johnson, Guam USA
The only thing that would restore my confidence in the UN is if they made transparent democracy the primary qualification for membership. The idea that dictatorships and democracies can be considered as equals is a revolting notion.
Matt Johnson, Guam USA

The UN hasn't any teeth to take a bite out of those who oppose them. Passive parents lead to unruly children. They need to establish an effective way of punishing all who fall under its umbrella including the USA. Currently the UN can't or won't impose discipline against "influential" members.
Kevin, USA

The institution has clearly needed radical reforms for many years. Its US critics should perhaps look towards ordering their own house and addressing their government's human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay before becoming too sanctimonious
Malcolm Parker, Basingstoke England

Each of the six occupied continents should have a seat on the UN Security Council. These seats can be awarded through democratic elections or the consensus of those countries on that particular continent. Antarctica can be a floater vote awarded to a democratic country that allows free access to the election process by UN monitors from all six continents. Or we could scrap the current system and the free democratic countries of the world could forge a world body that stands for all those ideals and concepts that we wish the UN stood for.
Gregg, Toronto, Canada

The UN at present is working against its own ideology
Shib Sen Chaudhury, Calcutta, India
Enlargement of UN Security Council will only prove worthy if selection of its permanent members is done giving equal preference to all its member nations. The UN at present is working against its own ideology.
Shib Sen Chaudhury, Calcutta, India

The UN suffers from the same basic problem as the ill fated League of Nations - unwillingness on the part of its members to act against aggression. It did nothing to stop what happened in Bosnia and Rwanda and continues to do with Sudan. It is only as strong as its members' support gives it.
Marc, Bristol

A lot of the negative criticism is based on ignorance of the fact that the UN, which is only a 'Secretariat', can be only as good as its members. Can anyone envisage a world without the UN? The world would revert to what it was before WWII. I believe Annan did his best under a difficult situation, bar the 'oil for food' deal where his position became apparently compromised. It is very surprising that he recommends the abolition of the UNHRC when HR is on top of the agenda or is this to pander to countries who only value the rights of their own citizens and do not care a whit about other citizens? Does not sound like him. But what does he propose in its place?
Saravan, UK

There is nothing wrong with the UN's credibility. It is only the United States that seems to not be happy with the United Nations because they don't get what they want. So the United States is pointing fingers at the United Nations as a scapegoat by blaming every failure as a result of the United Nation's actions.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

It is an organisation of the powers of the West, to protect western interests
Tanveer Aslam, Sydney

The second and the Third world has never had much confidence in the UN as it has never protected them from any aggression. It is an organisation of the powers of the West, to protect western interests. It should be renamed as United Nations of America. The sooner we reach the end of this organisation the better it will be for the Third world, specially the Muslim world. This would at least make the economic sanctions and carpet bombings by the West resulting in the death of millions illegal.
Tanveer Aslam, Sydney, Australia

To restore confidence in the UN, get the unreliable and untrustworthy Kofi Annan to resign immediately and get Kofi Annan's supporters to go with him. Then change a few policies and be more forceful in obtaining peace throughout the world.
Terence Gaffney, Sunderland

If Kofi Annan can institute reform and if US delegate Bolton stands behind him (with a club), then yes, reform can be possible and some measure of confidence restored. But, status quo is no longer acceptable.
Michael Chittum, San Francisco, USA

The UN has been, and will remain, merely a talking shop
Ralph U
The UN has been, and will remain, merely a talking shop - except for certain specialized agencies. It is composed of too many countries with too different political and value systems to be otherwise. You can idealize it if you wish, but in the real world it wins no prizes.
Ralph U

Whatever the UN evolves into, and whatever its role in the world, it will be ineffective unless its zeal for recruiting the best officials and defending them against political attacks from both sides of the argument is balanced by willingness to promptly dismiss those who are incompetent and/or corrupt.
Michael Llamas, Tokyo

Kofi Annan is no saint but he is one of the best Secretaries General that the UN has had. His reforms are not revolutionary but they are steps in the right direction. Ultimately, the UN won't be functional until the USA no longer dominates. The current permanent single-nation veto structure on the Security Council must go and be replaced by a minority veto vote.
Gregory, Santa Rosa, California, USA

Can we really take an institution seriously when a country like Syria is on the anti-terrorism committee?
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA
Here are the facts that people seem to forget. If the UN Resolutions were to be taken seriously, there would have been military action in Iraq years ago. Yet when it finally happened, people complained and it became some kind of anti-US crusade. The world tends to forget what it doesn't want to remember. Instead of reform, how about actually taking actions on the Resolutions that were agreed upon? Can we really take an institution seriously when a country like Syria is on the anti-terrorism committee?
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

The UN was against the war on Iraq but the USA did not pay any attention to it. If the UN wants respect from among the nations, it should impose sanction on the USA. But the truth is that if Kofi Annan cannot do that. He is thinking that he is a champion of world peace when he warns countries like North Korea and Iran in tune with the USA. That is not his mistake but the mistake of the very framework of the UN. We need a democratic set up in the UN where all the nations in the world have equal say.
Sebastian Thomas, New Delhi, India

Kofi Annan should resign and allow a new person to take over. Annan has lost his credibility all over the world. A complete UN reform will be needed after he is gone.
George Rodriguez, New York, USA

The loss of confidence in the UN is about its inability to prevent the USA from committing multiple war crimes. Being trashed by the USA has killed all hopes that the UN has any chance of getting the USA to comply with the law.
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand

Security council of the UN should be expanded
Walterson Harmon, Liberia
I feel that the security council of the UN should be expanded in order to give a free flow of many observations and analysis on concluding very critical matters.
Walterson Harmon, Liberia

India or Pakistan and one African Country should sit on the Security Council as permanent veto-wielding members. This will keep the US in check.
Luther, Nigeria

Some say a reform is needed by first getting rid of Annan, that will probably give an opening to the US to place another puppet in his place like they are doing with the World Bank.
Theresa, Kisumu, Kenya

The world desperately needs a worldwide organisation (to mediate and impose the will of the majority) that commands respect. The 'veto' should not be allowed, neither should one country pay more into the system than the others. Is this wishful thinking?
Martin A. Prowse, Ceará, Brazil

I'm not sure of the exact number of UN resolutions completely ignored by Saddam Hussein, but I do know what the UN did about it. Absolutely nothing. The UN is a great idea but if it doesn't enforce its decisions what is the purpose of it? My Grandmother's knitting circle stands up for itself more than the U.N. does. While it is a noble concept, I don't believe any sort of international governing body can be made feasible, due to the self-interested nature of all men and nations.
Daniel A. Cord, Chicago, IL

The restoration of the UN confidence is far fetched
Rodgers Nyirenda, Zambia

The restoration of the UN confidence is far fetched. For as long as the UN remains selecting in its intervention of outbreaks of wars then the restoration of confidence will be a non starter.
Rodgers Nyirenda, Zambia

As long as nations are given the veto power in the security counsel, multilateralism - and the UN - can be of limited effectiveness only.
Anton M Rychener, Hanoi, Vietnam

Confidence in the UN will not be restored until that body tackles and successfully solves a crisis. Institutions, like people, are rightly judged by actions and deeds.
Chris, US

Was there ever confidence in the UN?
Jeff, Springfield, VA, USA

I have to say no. It may help, but until we have a democratically elected UN parliament, the elimination of vetoes and the "security council" the UN will continue to be hamstrung.
Brian Coughlan, Alingsas, Sweden

The UN lacks public confidence because of its internal corruption and inaction. But more seriously it lacks widespread public support because supporters want it to become a world government without any checks and balances in place. Should power and control within the organization be apportioned to countries based on their population, or economic power, or what? The thought of African nations along with China and India telling the western world what to do is frightening. Perhaps John Bolton will give the UN the kick in the pants it needs.
Jeremy, Atlanta, USA

If and when America walks out, the game is over
Mark, USA
Not a chance. An entrenched bureaucracy which is inefficient and corrupt is the frosting on the cake of an organization which cannot fulfil its primary mission to assure the security of its members, even its most powerful member. Corruption and the "politics of hate" make the UN impotent and an organization to be always suspect and overruled by America. If and when America walks out, the game is over and the UN will go the way of the League of Nations. If its members don't make a far more fundamental change, this organizations life expectancy is short.
Mark, USA

The UN has a long way to go to restore American confidence in it. This is where the real rift between the US and France/Germany/Spain began before the Iraq war. Americans expect the UN to do what it says; much of the rest of the world couldn't care less whether it does what it says. Add to this the many troublemakers, moral primitives, and corrupt leaders in its ranks, and the UN has become a poisoned, principle-less organization whose sole purpose these days seems to be redistribution of wealth. We'll see whether the reforms correct the "anti-US-at-all-costs" behaviour running rampant there now.
Julie, Rockford, IL, USA

No confidence will be restored unless the UN HQ are shifted from the shores of America to the East. Bring it to Japan, India or Singapore. Nobody has any more faith in America. Institutions like the UN are just Fashion Houses. The UN will lose more relevance and respect if it continues to be housed in America. Bring it where there is knowledge and wisdom and not gun culture and class-room murders.
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

Maybe when the UN actually takes action and accomplishes something it will be acknowledged as a worthwhile body. Until then it is, what it is, a corrupt, flaccid, all talk-no action, worthless agency.
Jason, Detroit, USA

The UN should simply facilitate good works such as refugee assistance and election monitoring
Sharon S, USA
The UN should not under any circumstances make policy. They are not elected and therefore not accountable to anyone. The UN should simply facilitate good works such as refugee assistance, election monitoring, and natural disaster assistance.
Sharon S, USA

Any reform within the UN has to accept the realities of the age we live in. The current set up of the Security Council is still a reflection of the 1940s. A Security Council that has small countries like the UK and France with veto power and huge countries like India without even a permanent seat is unrealistic!
Andre, Rochester, NY, USA




SEE ALSO:
Annan names troubleshooting chief
03 Jan 05 |  Americas
Time to turn talk into UN reform
21 Mar 05 |  Americas
Tough times for the UN
28 Feb 05 |  Americas
Cautious response to UN reforms
22 Mar 05 |  Americas
Bush's UN choice faces scrutiny
11 Apr 05 |  Americas
Ex-US diplomats round on Bolton
29 Mar 05 |  Americas


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