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UN peace centres in Africa, Asia-Pacific face financial crises - Annan

16 August 2005 The United Nations centres for peace and disarmament in Africa and Asia and the Pacific are facing critical funding gaps and myriad logistical challenges, and may have a better chance of survival if their operations are merged with other UN offices, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has suggested in two new reports.

In the General Assembly, Mr. Annan expresses concern for the financial stability and operational viability of the UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament – for Africa, located in Lomé, Togo; and the other in the Asia and Pacific, currently located in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Both Assembly-mandated centres rely on voluntarily funding from UN Member States and despite accomplishing marked progress in such areas as security, arms control, research and education, continue to operate under strenuous financial pressures. This has led Mr. Annan to consider the possibility of co-locating the centres with existing UN offices, respectively in Nairobi or Addis Ababa in Africa, and Bangkok in Asia.

On the Africa Centre, which was established in 1986, Mr Annan says that during the past year, a number of activities were accomplished, particularly regarding curbing the flow of small arms and light weapons, and cooperation and information-sharing with other regional organizations and civil society groups. Given the Centre’s financial uncertainty, those accomplishments were achieved largely due to the dedication of its staff, he says.

Over the past year, the Asia-Pacific Centre continued to promote disarmament and security and had assisted the five central Asian States in the drafting and finalization of a treaty on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the area, adopted in February 2005. Mr. Annan adds that UN Department of Disarmament Affairs is undertaking consultations with Member States and donor countries, paying particular attention to solutions that address the demands and needs of the region and enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Centre’s operations.


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