Greater cooperation stressed at UN conference on enhancing security at major events

7 December 2006 –

United Nations Member States should improve their cooperation and share much more information if they want to enhance security at major international events and gatherings, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

In a message to a day-long conference on the issue held at UN Headquarters in New York and organized by the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Mr. Annan welcomed the Institute’s creation of an International Permanent Observatory to help nations exchange ideas and learn about best practices on security.

“UNICRI plays an invaluable role in identifying and disseminating best practices aimed at strengthening protection against terrorist attacks targeting large-scale events and gatherings,” Mr. Annan said in his message, delivered on his behalf by David Veness, the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, who chaired the conference.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recently approved a resolution that encourages Member States to strengthen their cooperation when planning the security for major events and to take advantage of the Observatory and its resources.

The Secretary-General added that the Observatory will soon be able to provide technical assistance and advisory services to those countries that request such help when staging major events, ranging from economic summits and world conferences to religious festivals and sporting gatherings such as the Olympic Games.

Ma Zhen Chuan, Director-General of Beijing Public Security Bureau and responsible for security at the 2008 Summer Olympics, was one of the participants at today’s conference.

In his message Mr. Annan noted that in classical times, when the Greeks held the Olympic Games, an “Olympic Peace” was observed during the event so that participants and spectators could attend without fear of violence.

“The idea of such a truce has been revived in modern times, even if it has not had the desired impact. Still, we must act in that spirit, and do our utmost to ensure that major large-scale events, from sporting field to convention hall, can take place in peace.”

In his remarks to the conference Mr. Veness stressed that “no major event is a one-nation event,” adding that it made sense for host countries to use and share the knowledge of other nations “with vigour and imagination.”

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