Statements and Messages from the President


at the high-level meeting on the social dimension of globalization



Heads of State and Government,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Director General of the International Labour Organization,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to speak at this high-level meeting on the social dimension of globalization, a very complex subject and one of fundamental importance to all the peoples of the world.
Allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute to President Tarja Halonen of the Republic of Finland and President Benjamin Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania, co-chairmen of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization and co-authors of the report entitled "A fair globalization: creating opportunities for all". The constructive proposals contained in the report are a landmark contribution to a new and dynamic approach to issues of governance and responsibility at the global level.
I would like to congratulate the members of the Commission on the work done, which shows that, despite divergent approaches, consensus can be achieved on the major global challenges.
Allow me to thank President Jacques Chirac of the French Republic and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Federative Republic of Brazil, who are present here today, for the special interest they have shown in the social dimension of globalization.

I would also like to commend His Excellency Mr. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), for the support that ILO has given to the work of the Commission.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The Millennium Declaration rightly reminds us that one of the major challenges of our time is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all peoples of the world.
A product of the tremendous development of new information and communications technologies and of the liberalization of trade, globalization has increased interdependence among nations and generated immense economic potential, which has raised great hopes.
Humanity has never before had such extraordinary scientific and technical potential and such a great capacity to produce goods and material wealth as it does today. However, it must be recognized that the imbalance among and within nations is also unprecedented.
As the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization emphasizes, that situation is "morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable".
How is it that in a world of vast resources and enormous potential nearly a billion human beings still live in extreme poverty?

In addition to the measures that each State must take at the national level with respect to political and economic governance and to social protection, special emphasis must be placed on the search for global solutions so that the action taken is fully commensurate with the scale of the problem.

As President Jacques Chirac quite rightly said, "globalization of the economy requires the globalization of solidarity".

Global problems require global solutions, which require, among other things, the establishment of a fairer multilateral trading system and the adoption of equally fair and transparent rules on capital flows, competition and movement of people.

That is why it is essential that the conditions of international finance and trade should not alter the political balance or institutional mechanisms of developing countries.

The fairness of globalization therefore seems to hinge on the collective efforts of the international community. Indeed, a stable and prosperous world economy can only exist in a world in which all citizens are given an opportunity to realize their potential for productivity and consumption.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The United Nations was established to respond to the challenges which the need to maintain international peace and security on the one hand, and to promote economic and social development for all, on the other, poses to all mankind.
These fundamental goals that reflect our individual and collective aspirations are at the core of the Millennium Declaration, adopted by the world's leaders. The Declaration champions a vision of a world united around common values and striving with renewed commitment to establish peace and provide better living standards for every man, woman and child.
To achieve these goals, we must mobilize all our resources and exhibit greater solidarity.
As the only universal forum in which the aspirations of all humanity are expressed in all their diversity, the United Nations can and must continue to play a central role in reforming the rules of world governance.
The General Assembly must therefore act as the crucible for forging universal consensus for a more equitable globalization and the achievement of the ideal of a world of peace, progress and justice.

The General Assembly will therefore be considering with particular interest the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, whose innovative vision reflects directly the concerns and aspirations of the peoples of the world.
In that respect, the statement by former President of the European Union, Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, is particularly significant: "If we truly wish to do so, we can bring joy and hope to hundreds of millions of human beings like ourselves."
I thank you.

59th Session of the UN General Assembly