Hopeless earthlings [Archives:2005/881/Viewpoint]

September 29 2005

Although more than 10 days have passed since the UN's 2005 World Summit the after shock is very much still here. The difference between the introduction statement secretary-general Mr. Kofi Annan made of the summit and his speech on the outcome document were world's apart. He believed that -in his own words – “The world summit is a once-in- a-generation opportunity for the world to come together and take action on grave global threats that require bold global solutions. It is also a chance to revitalize the United Nations itself. It is in short, an opportunity for all humankind.”

However, in his speech: “A glass at least half full” he was not as much optimistic even though he tried to be so. I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually takes off to outer space giving up on “humankind” or as put in the cartoon -to the right – by Stephff from Bangkok as “earthlings”.

Outcomes on ten main themes resulted from the summit; on development, terrorism, peace, protection, human rights, reform, environment, health, aid and updating the UN charter itself. Other than increasing development aid by $50 billion a year for fighting poverty no concrete action resulted from the summit. Even this increase in aid is not effective until 2010, while in the rest of the themes the world's leaders have agreed on many things and endorsed the already known facts with only words. In fact, even that was not achieved when the agreement on a clear definition of terrorism was not made although all member countries condemned this undefined enemy and decided to create -yet another- convention against terrorism within a year.

The outcome of the summit is truly disappointing although the secretary-general tried to throw some hope by saying “the document is still a remarkable expression of world unity on a wide range of issues”. I am not sure what the member countries aimed at achieving from the summit but we as media and simple people do need such as huge event to condemn terrorism or that poverty is bad and something needs to be done about it.

The most alarming issue is the reform of the UN, for although the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights budget is to be doubled yet commitment to give the Secretary-General the strong executive authority needed to carry out the responsibilities was withheld. Moreover although it was argued however, the Security Council still remains far from representing today's realities.

Personally, I believe that Mr. Annan had tried, and tried really hard. But to change the world's perception of the UN post the world wars and what the UN should be today is a very difficult job today and may take much more time is needed for that than we ever imagined.