What Will U.N. World Summit Accomplish?

175 world leaders met in New York City Sept. 14-16 to discuss proposed reforms at the 2005 U.N. World Summit.

The U.S. has requested numerous changes to the proposed agreement on reform, and newly appointed ambassador John Bolton, already the source of controversy, was the face of the U.S.'s requests.

Among other things, the summit was intended to address progress on goals outlined at the 2000 Millenium Summit, including drastically reducing poverty by 2015 (progress on many of the initial goals, however, has been much less than hoped).

The question is: Will this gathering of world leaders accomplish anything in this respect?

[The following Commentary is by Roger Coate, co-author, "The United Nations and Changing World Politics", and a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina]
The Summit will produce a highly watered-down declaration that heads of state and government can take back, get some good press and pat themselves on the back for giving it a good fight.

In terms of actually moving the world forward toward promoting human security—NO.

This Summit represented a golden opportunity—perhaps the only remaining opportunity—to get the world on track for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and moving toward eradicating poverty, hunger, disease and other maladies facing the world’s poorest peoples. The MDGs are not loft—pie-in-the-sky—goals, but rather straightforward and pragmatic goals, targets and indicators. They are part of a larger UN system-wide initiative to raise people out of hell-like conditions.

Washington is heavily to blame for the failure of the General Assembly to send forward to the Summit a plan of action that could move the world considerably forward. By injecting Mr. Bolton into the process at such a late date, President Bush appears to have been successful scuttling any real international consensus to meet the MDGs or accomplish mush else at the Summit.

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