Immediately after assuming the office of Secretary-General, Kofi Annan in 1997, initiated a thorough review of the activities of the United Nations and the manner in which they are organized and conducted. The objective was to identify the ways in which the United Nations can more effectively and efficiently meet the challenges that lie ahead as the UN entered a new century, and a new millennium.
Kofi Annan appointed Maurice Strong as the UN Executive Coordinator of Reform, along with a small, but dedicated team to come up with extensive and far-reaching reforms in the fifty-two year history of this Organization.
The result of the six-month effort was the report, entitled "Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform".
The report sought to transform the leadership and management structure of the Organization, enabling it to act with greater unity of purpose, coherence of efforts, and agility in responding to the many challenges it faces. These measures were intended to renew the confidence of Member States in the relevance and effectiveness of the Organization and revitalize the spirit and commitment of its staff.
The report pointed out that success of this reform programme further required close partnership and cooperation with Member States, from whom the United Nations derived its mandates and was equipped with resources. Hence, the report also included complementary measures that resided within the jurisdiction of Member States.
The report proposed ways to enhance the strategic direction that only the General Assembly could provide to the work of the Organization, while the Secretary-General was given the necessary tools to accomplish mandated objectives most effectively.
Thirdly, several more fundamental proposals were advanced for consideration by the General Assembly for possible action in the longer term.
In the introduction to the report, Kofi Annan said: "1 wish to acknowledge with gratitude the important contributions made to this effort by the Executive Coordinator for Reform, Mr. Maurice Strong, and his small but highly motivated team. In a matter of just six months, and with very limited resources, they covered vast ground and proved that it is possible for the United Nations to reform itself from within.
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