UN General Assembly core group continues working on World Summit document

With barely a week left before the 2005 World Summit brings together the largest ever gathering of international leaders at United Nations Headquarters in New York, a General Assembly panel today continued its marathon sessions aimed at drafting an outcome document for the 14-16 September meeting. The General Assembly Core Group, set up by Assembly President Jean Ping of Gabon had already spent the weekend in intensive consultations and heard progress reports form its sub-groups.The most recent version of the document, reflecting the current state of play on all the issues, was presented this afternoon and will serve as the basis for further negotiations among Member States. The sub-groups are tackling seven priority issues identified by Mr. Ping: development, UN Secretariat reform, establishment of a Human Rights Council, creation of a Peace Building Commission, disarmament and non-proliferation, terrorism, and the responsibility to protect civilians under threat of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.The Summit has been convened to discuss UN reform and the status of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seek to cure of a host of global socio-economic ills by 2015, and is expected to be attended by some 180 leaders. Ever since he put forward in March a comprehensive plan for tackling poverty, security threats and human rights abuses while reforming the UN, in his report “In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan has spoken of the unique opportunity offered by the Summit in this 60th anniversary year of the world body. He returned to this theme in an interview with the BBC yesterday, calling for “a maturity and leadership and appreciation of what we are trying to do” in reaching agreement on the outcome document.“I think this is a once in a generation opportunity that we have to do this,” he said. “And if we fail, I don’t know when the opportunity will come again.”