New Century, New Challenges
The new millennium, and the Millennium Summit, offer the world’s
peoples a unique occasion to reflect on their common destiny,
at a moment when they find themselves interconnected as never
before. They look to their leaders to identify and act
on the challenges ahead. The United Nations can help meet
those challenges, if its Members share a renewed sense of mission.
Founded to introduce new principles into international relations
in 1945, the UN has succeeded better in some areas than others.
This is a chance to reshape the United Nations so that it can
make a real and measurable difference to people’s lives in the
Globalization and Governance
The benefits of globalization are obvious: faster growth, higher
living standards, new opportunities. Yet a backlash has
begun, because these benefits are so unequally distributed,
and because the global market is not yet underpinned by rules
based on shared social objectives.
the founders set up an open and co-operative system for an international
world. This system worked, and made it possible for globalization
to emerge. As a result we now live in a global world. Responding
to this shift is a central challenge for world leaders today.
new world, groups and individuals more and more often interact
directly across frontiers, without involving the State. This
has its dangers. Crime, narcotics, terrorism, pollution, disease,
weapons, refugees and migrants: all move back and forth faster
and in greater numbers than in the past. People feel threatened
by events far away. They are also more aware of injustice and
brutality in distant countries, and expect States to do something
about them. But new technologies also create opportunities
for mutual understanding and common action. If we are to get
the best out of globalization and avoid the worst, we must learn
to govern better, and how to govern better together.
not mean world government or the eclipse of nation states. On
the contrary, States need to be strengthened. And they can draw
strength from each other, by acting together within common institutions
based on shared rules and values. These institutions must reflect
the realities of the time, including the distribution of power.
And they must serve as an arena for states to co-operate with
non-state actors, including global companies. In many cases
they need to be complemented by less formal policy networks,
which can respond more quickly to the changing global agenda.
gross disparities of wealth in today’s world, the miserable
conditions in which well over a billion people live, the prevalence
of endemic conflict in some regions, and the rapid degradation
of the natural environment: all these combine to make the present
model of development unsustainable, unless remedial measures
are taken by common agreement. A recent survey of public opinion
across six continents – the largest ever conducted – confirms
that such measures are what people want.
Freedom from Want
The past half-century has seen unprecedented economic gains.
But 1.2 billion people have to live on less than $1 a day. The
combination of extreme poverty with extreme inequality between
countries, and often also within them, is an affront to our
common humanity. It also makes many other problems worse, including
conflict. And the world’s population is still rising rapidly,
with the increase concentrated in the poorest countries. We
must act to reduce extreme poverty by half, in every part of
the world, before 2015. The following are priority areas:
sustained growth. This means, above all, ensuring that people
in all developing countries can benefit from globalization.
opportunities for the young. By 2015, all children must complete
primary schooling, with equal opportunities for both genders
at all levels of education. And ways must be found to provide
young people with decent work.
health and combating HIV/AIDS. Health research must be redirected
at the problems affecting 90 per cent of the world’s people.
By 2010 we should have cut the rate of HIV infection in young
people by 25 per cent.
the slums. We must support the "Cities without Slums"
action plan, which aims to improve the lives of 100 million
slum dwellers by 2020.
Africa. The Report challenges experts and philanthropic foundations
to tackle low agricultural productivity in Africa. It also
urges African governments to give higher priority to reducing
poverty, and the rest of the world to help them.
digital bridges. New technology offers an unprecedented chance
for developing countries to "leapfrog" earlier stages
of development. Everything must be done to maximize their
peoples’ access to new information networks.
global solidarity. Rich countries must further open their
markets to poor countries’ products, must provide deeper and
faster debt relief, and must give more and better focused
development assistance. Ridding the world of the scourge of
extreme poverty is a challenge to every one of us. We must
not fail to meet it.
Freedom from Fear
Wars between States have become less frequent. But in the last
decade internal wars have claimed more than 5 million lives,
and driven many times that number of people from their homes.
At the same time weapons of mass destruction continue to cast
their shadow of fear. We now think of security less as defending
territory, more in terms of protecting people. The threat of
deadly conflict must be tackled at every stage:
Conflicts are most frequent in poor countries, especially
in those that are ill governed and where there are sharp inequalities
between ethnic or religious groups. The best way to prevent
them is to promote healthy and balanced economic development,
combined with human rights, minority rights and political
arrangements in which all groups are fairly represented. Also,
illicit transfers of weapons, money, or natural resources
must be forced into the limelight.
the vulnerable. We must find better ways to enforce international
and human rights law, and ensure that gross violations do
not go unpunished.
the dilemma of intervention. National sovereignty must not
be used as a shield for those who wantonly violate the rights
and lives of their fellow human beings. In the face of mass
murder, armed intervention authorized by the Security Council
is an option that cannot be relinquished.
peace operations. The Millennium Assembly is invited to consider
recommendations from a high-level panel the Secretary-General
has established to review all aspects of peace operations.
sanctions. Recent research has explored ways to make sanctions
"smarter", by targeting them better. The Security
Council should draw on this research when designing and applying
sanctions regimes in future.
arms reductions. The Secretary-General urges Member States
to control small arms transfers more rigorously; and to re-commit
themselves to reducing the dangers both of existing nuclear
weapons and of further proliferation.
Sustaining our future
We now face an urgent need to secure the freedom of future generations
to sustain their lives on this planet – and we are failing to
do it. We have been plundering our children’s heritage to pay
for unsustainable practices. Changing this is a challenge for
rich and poor countries alike. The Rio Conference in 1992 provided
the foundations, and the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting
substances is an important step forward. But elsewhere our responses
are too few, too little and too late. Before 2002 we must revive
the debate and prepare to act decisively in the following areas:
with climate change. Reducing the threat of global warming
requires a 60 per cent reduction in emissions of carbon and
other "greenhouse gases". This can be achieved by
promoting energy efficiency and relying more on renewable
energy sources. Implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol would
be a first step.
the water crisis. The report urges endorsement of the World
Water Forum Ministerial Conference’s target of cutting by
half the proportion of people without access to safe and affordable
water before 2015. It also calls for a "Blue Revolution"
which would increase agricultural productivity per unit of
water, while improving management of watersheds and flood
the soil. The best hope of feeding a growing world population
from shrinking agricultural land may lie in biotechnology,
but its safety and environmental impact are hotly debated.
The Secretary-General is convening a global policy network
to try and resolve these controversies, so that the poor and
hungry do not lose out.
forests, fisheries, and biodiversity. In all these areas,
conservation is vital. Governments and the private sector
must work together to support it.
a new ethic of stewardship. The Secretary-General recommends
of the public.
2) "Green accounting", to integrate the environment
into economic policy.
3) Regulations and incentives.
4) More accurate scientific data.
well as Governments, must commit themselves to a new ethic of
conservation and stewardship.
Renewing the United Nations
Without a strong UN, it will be much harder to meet all these
challenges. Strengthening the UN depends on Governments, and
especially on their willingness to work with others – the private
sector, non-governmental organizations and multilateral agencies
– to find consensus solutions. The UN must act as a catalyst,
to stimulate action by others. And it must fully exploit the
new technologies, especially information technology. The Secretary-General
recommends action in these areas:
our core strengths. The UN’s influence derives not from power
but from the values it represents, its role in helping to
set and sustain global norms, its ability to stimulate global
concern and action; and the trust inspired by its practical
work to improve people’s lives. We must build on those strengths,
especially by insisting on the importance of the rule of law.
But we also need to adapt the UN itself, notably by reforming
the Security Council so it can both work effectively and enjoy
unquestioned legitimacy. And we must expand the UN’s relationship
with civil society organizations, as well as with the private
sector and foundations.
for change. We must supplement formal institutions with informal
policy networks, bringing together international institutions,
civil society and private sector organizations, and national
governments, in pursuit of common goals.
digital connections. We can use the new information technology
to make the UN more efficient, and to improve its interaction
with the rest of the world. But to do so we must overcome
a change-resistant culture. The Secretary-General is asking
the information technology industry to help us do it.
the quiet revolution. To meet the needs of the 21st
century we need real structural reform, a clearer consensus
on priorities among Member States, and less intrusive oversight
of day-to-day management. Decisions are needed from the General
Assembly – for instance to include "sunset provisions"
in new mandates and to introduce results-based budgeting.
For consideration by the Summit
Secretary-General lists six shared values, reflecting the spirit
of the Charter, which are of particular relevance to the new
century: Freedom; Equity and Solidarity; Tolerance; Non-Violence;
Respect for Nature; and Shared responsibility. He urges the
Millennium Summit to adopt a series of resolutions, drawn from
the body of the Report, as an earnest of its will to act on