The United Nations
"The Time to reform the United Nations is now. And we must seize this opportunity together.” These are words from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her first speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September.
The 2005 World Summit lived up to being a once-in-a-generation event for the United Nations. With breakthroughs in adopting strategies to fight poverty and disease, creating new machinery to win the peace in war-torn countries, and pledging collective action to prevent genocide, progress was made across a broader front than on any other single occasion in the 60 year history of the organization. Major advancements were made on terrorism, human rights, democracy, management of the Secretariat, peacekeeping and humanitarian response. And doors were opened to further action on global public health, global warming and mediation.
Now, member states will turn to the tough task of implementing what was agreed and to continue work on the critical differences that remain. Many items must be completed during the 60th session of the General Assembly, ending next September. With so much to do in such a short period of time, civil society will be essential to keeping tabs on progress and keeping all parties involved accountable. While the Summit has come and gone, the hard work is just beginning.
With each passing week it becomes dramatically clearer how much the world’s leaders agreed to at the Summit. This is equally true about the sheer amount of work ahead. Every effort must be made to see the promise outlined by world leaders fulfilled. If we do that, we will help save millions of lives and give hope to billions of people—a fitting achievement to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations and a platform from which to do even more in the years ahead.