3 November 2004 When world leaders convene in 2005 for the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, five years after agreeing to an ambitious plan to battle poverty and other global ills, they will be charting the future of the United Nations and its role in those efforts, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says.
In unveiling his ideas for holding a high-level review of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, Mr. Annan describes the proposed summit - from 14 to 16 September 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York - as an event of "decisive importance."
"The decisions to be taken at the meeting may determine the whole future of the United Nations," he says in a report on the format and organization of the summit.
"Even more important, they will offer us our best - perhaps our only - chance to ensure a safer, more just and more prosperous world in the new century, not only for our own sakes but for those of our children and grandchildren."
At a similar meeting five years ago, more than 100 Heads of State and government adopted the Millennium Declaration, a blueprint for achieving a more peaceful, prosperous and just world through collective security and a global partnership for development.
What sprang from their statement was the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal education and promote gender equality. They also seek to reduce infant and maternal mortality, fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development - all by 2015.
In his annual updates, the Secretary-General says that progress towards achieving the MDGs has been uneven at best. His next report, which he plans to release in March, will also draw on the findings of his High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
Mr. Annan says Member States should take an "active and positive interest" in the issues before the 2005 summit. He also urges countries to engage in the preparations at the highest level, "with an unshakeable determination to reach agreement on decisions that will truly fulfil the commitments contained in the Millennium Declaration, giving us a stronger and more effective United Nations as an instrument for achieving a better and safer world."
While acknowledging it to be an ambitious agenda, he says he has no doubt that it is feasible if Member States have the will to do it. "The weak, the vulnerable and the insecure citizens of this world look to the Organization for help and for protection. Let us not disappoint them."