Takasu vows to streamline U.N.

Kyodo

Yukio Takasu, the newly appointed U.N. undersecretary general for management, says he will engage in a wide range of reforms at the organization, including the introduction of a more integrated and flexible approach to human resources.

The former ambassador to the United Nations said in an interview Friday that it is necessary “to avoid sectionalism” to effectively tackle increasingly complex international issues despite funding reductions brought on by the developed countries’ economic problems.

Referring to the actions of the United States in broad issues, including conflict resolution involving Syria, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as environmental issues to be discussed at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro next month, Takasu, 65, said the United Nations “has not yet adequately responded” to these issues. He said he will “undertake necessary reform to increase (the U.N.’s) capacity to respond” to its duties.

He also noted that the economies of developed countries, which have traditionally shored up the U.N.’s budget, have been “really going down” in recent years.

The economy in “Europe, which has been cooperative in contributing human resources as well as funds, is very severe now. It is also severe in the United States and Japan,” he said, emphasizing that the United Nations needs to tighten its belt.

To do so, the international body “has to change its system to flexibly do its work” with the personnel it currently has, he stressed.

“We have to streamline the services of the United Nations as a whole to allow room to deal with complex issues,” he added.

Until now, U.N. employees have tended to lack a sense of engagement with tasks other than those they are directly involved with, and this has driven the world body to create new positions and hire more people to accomplish those tasks, leading it to “continuously expand” its organizational structure and budget, Takasu said.