Geneva, 2 July 1999
ECE REGIONAL HEARINGS FOR THE MILLENNIUM ASSEMBLY
How will the United Nations deal with the new challenges of the 21st Century? How will Human Rights cope with the threats posed by globalisation? Is economic efficiency a handicap for society and the environment? Can the three be reconciled? And how will the United Nations address the changing nature of conflicts?
At the instigation of the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, a hearing proposing answers to these issues and others will be held on 7 and 8 July 1999, at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, by the Economic Commission for Europe. The event is part of a series of regional hearings preparing for the Millennium Assembly, which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York next year.
The Geneva meeting will take place under the chairmanship of the President of Malta, Mr. Guido de Marco, and will focus on issues related to the main fields of activities of the United Nations, namely, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, and Peace and Disarmament.
The hearing will thus include three thematic segments, each moderated by the highest UN authority in the field, and debated by five distinguished panellists. A final segment will conclude the meeting (see programme attached).
Representatives of UN/ECE member States and of 800 NGOs have been invited to attend the hearings. Debates will be informal. Participants have been asked to be forward-looking and to provide concrete proposals for addressing the main challenges identified, sketching out specific lines of action for the United Nations to take.
On 7 July, the first session of the debates will be moderated by Mrs. Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and will be dedicated to the question of Human Rights in the age of globalisation. While this irreversible trend offers unique opportunities to promote a universal culture of Human Rights through world-wide networks of solidarity and the emergence of a genuinely international jurisdiction, it also creates new threats which, if unchecked, may well undermine the most fundamental social, economic and political rights.
Mr. Yves Berthelot, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe, will oversee the debates of the afternoon session, which will address the issue of reconciling economic efficiency with legitimate social and environmental concerns. The session will search for proposals for preventing economic efficiency from generating social inequities and mass poverty. It will also stress the role of the United Nations in mitigating the negative impact of globalisation, fighting back the rising tide of poverty, and promoting respect of social values.
On 8 July, debates will highlight the issue of Peace and Disarmament. Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Special Representative of the Secretary-General in these matters, will moderate the meeting. Participants will focus on means for the United Nations to adapt to the changing nature of conflicts and more specifically, how to improve the efficiency of its mechanisms for conflict prevention, boost its Charter role in conflict resolution, and the promotion of policies aimed at promoting a lasting peace.
The final segment of the hearing will be devoted to drawing the conclusions of the debates and to drafting concrete proposals for strengthening the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century.
For further information, please contact:
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE)
Palais des Nations, Room 356
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 44 44
Fax: +41 22 917 05 05