It’s a sunny and nice morning in New York, and leaders are starting to gather for the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations. The local TV stations are warning that security precautions will close off large parts of the Eastern section of middle Manhattan.
Over the weekend, talks have been continued in a smaller group to sere if it is possible to reach agreement on a document for the summit starting on Wednesday. Lead by the incumbent President of the General Assembly Mr Ping, the process produces different drafts all in the Ping name.
Later today a new draft might be presented to the member countries, possible with the Secretary-General himself making an appeal for it to be adopted as the basis.
But the reform process is now down to rather few issues. With the question of an enlargement of the Security Council effectively off the table, the minimum requirement seems to be an agreement on the new Human Rights Council proposed as well as the beginning of progress on the different managment issues.
Not much, but at the least something.
On the last point, it’s primarily a question of starting to get rid of the myriad bizarre and sometimes even stupid regulations that the General Assembly has decided during the decades, and which tends to make effective managment by the Secretariat nearly impossible.
But, as one could expect, this is encountering fierce opposition from not the least the developing countries. Often these regulations have been driven by them. They fear that a stronger Secretariat will de facto mean a stronger role for the Americans and others.
It will be an important meeting, but I fear we should not expect too much in terms of important results. At the moment, avoiding a break-down is the number one priority.
But when the summit itself starts Wednesday, I would be surprised if there is not some sort of basic text already agreed. Everyone will have to give a little.
That’s the only way in which the United Nations can work.