Working Group recommends far reaching changes to strengthen U.N. system

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 (G-77) — After nearly two years of closed door negotiations, the Working Group on Strengthening the U.N. System has recommended several far reaching proposals in a 25-page report to the General Assembly.

The recommendations include a call for more transparecy in the selection of the Secretary-General and the identification and appointment of ‘’the best candidate for the post’’ with due regard to regional rotation and gender equality.

The open-ended Working Group led by the two vice-chairmen, Ambassador Prakash Shah of India and Ambassador Hans Jacob Bjorn Lian of Norway, recommended the option of a single term for the Secretary-General and four year term limits for the heads of all U.N. Funds and Programmes, renewably only once. This rule, if accepted, will also apply to all senior managers in the Secretariat.

Ambassador Shah said the Working Group would present its report tot he Assembly’s fifty-second session.

Ambassador Lian said while few of the measures agreed upon had been revolutionary, the package as a whole had been a considerable achievement.

‘’These are not the most auspicious times for reform,’’ he said. Despite the prevailing atmosphere of distrust between countries of the North and South, there had been agreement that the Organisation required reform.

Shah said that both developed and developing countries had agreed that the Organisation should focus on development issues. Differences related primarily to approach and priority.

Lian said that a number of donor countries admitted that the present development system was not the most efficient. Development efforts should be considered and assessed in the context of other, related efforts, he added.

Asked about the work of the various U.N. committees, Lian said that in order to rationalize and streamline the work of the First (Disarmament and International Security) and Fourth (Special Political and Decolonization) Committees, the Working Group had recommended that the two should be convened in sequence.