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15 NOVEMBER 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings to you all

I am pleased to join you today in support of developing creative and effective approaches to the world's most pressing challenges.

I wish to thank the Louise T. Blouin Foundation for organizing this Summit, and all of you who are gathered here, for your interest in working together towards our common goals.

We live in an era of shared responsibility. To solve global challenges we must all work together. Only then can we translate dialogue into concrete action.

I am certain that the discussions among leaders and experts who have participated in this Summit, shall give way to powerful new collaborations.

Your focus on science, in particular, as a means of fostering cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary understanding, is inspiring.

Throughout history, scientific discoveries have empowered humanity. From the knowledge of the environment in which we live in, to advances in the quality of human life, science has played such an important role in our existence.

Despite the many advances in science and technology, the majority of the world's population, have yet to share the benefits of progress.

It is our duty as leaders in our respective sectors, to help ensure that scientific advances are made available to those who are most in need.

Everyone - governments, the United Nations system, civil society, academia, the scientific community and the private sector - should be fully engaged in this process.

There is a clear moral imperative to act in the face of unacceptable poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, when globally the knowledge, tools, and technologies are available to do so.

As President of the General Assembly, I shall continue to involve all these voices in important debates during the Sixty-first Session of the General Assembly.

The 2005 World Summit set out an ambitious reform agenda and reaffirmed previous commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals.

While much progress has already been achieved, more remains to be done.

During this session of the General Assembly, I will convene a series of thematic debates on the topics of development, gender, and the dialogue among civilizations.

The General Assembly's first thematic debate entitled 'Partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Taking Stock, Moving Forward' will be held on the 27th of November.

The meeting will identify and improve on solutions for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

I look forward to your full participation in all of these events.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Secretary-General has proposed to create a new senior post to lead an expanded gender organization at the UN.

This recommendation was made in a recent Report of the High-Level Panel on United Nations System-wide Coherence. Member States are currently reviewing the Report, which makes various other recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.

Enhancing women's participation in all UN organs will help ensure that issues that affect women's lives globally receive greater attention.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our meeting today comes at a time when intercultural understanding and cooperation is more vital than ever.

The United Nations Charter represents universal aspirations. Let us work together to uphold the principles enshrined in the Charter and ensure that our actions yield a positive impact in the lives of people everywhere.

We cannot allow cultural differences to be used as the basis, or the pretext for conflict.

Open exchanges of ideas, such as at this Summit, must be initiated at all levels and in all regions, in order to allow everyone to do their part to help create a better future, for us all.

Thank you