India and US boost UN Democracy Fund

The newly-established United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) got a boost today from two of the world’s largest democracies when United States President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh co-sponsored a fund-raising event on the margins of the World Summit.”The United Nations must support democratization wherever it can,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the assembled leaders, noting that the Fund he launched in July at the African Union (AU) Summit in Libya seeks to help countries emerging from a violent past to establish democracy and others to strengthen it.”Your pledges will enable us to do so more effectively, in more countries.”The Fund, contained in Mr. Annan’s March report on UN reform “In Larger Freedom,” forms part of the draft outcome document presented to the 153 Heads of State or Government and the other senior officials attending the three-day Summit, the largest ever gathering of world leaders.Today’s event is aimed at raising both the funding and expertise needed to make UNDEF fully effective.”We are working with countries emerging from a violent past to build democratic institutions and strengthen civil society,” Mr. Annan said. “The UN assists one out of every three parliaments in developing countries. And on average, we support an election every two weeks somewhere around the world.”Indeed, the United Nations must champion the right of all people to choose their rulers as strongly as we have long championed the right of all peoples to live free of colonial domination,” he added. read more

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