I. 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 new century.
II. 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.
In 1945 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.
In this 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.
That does 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.
The 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
III. 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
- Achieving sustained growth. This means, above all, ensuring that
people in all developing countries can benefit from globalization.
- Generating 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.
- Promoting 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.
- Upgrading the slums. We must support the "Cities without Slums"
action plan, which aims to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers
- Including 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.
- Building 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
- Demonstrating 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.
IV. 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:
- Prevention. 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.
- Protecting the vulnerable. We must find better ways to enforce international
and human rights law, and ensure that gross violations do not go unpunished.
- Addressing 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..
- Strengthening 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.
- Targeting 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
- Pursuing 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.
V. 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:
Peoples, as well as Governments, must commit themselves to a new ethic
of conservation and stewardship.
- Coping 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.
- Confronting 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 plains.
- Defending 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.
- Preserving forests, fisheries, and biodiversity. In all these areas,
conservation is vital. Governments and the private sector must work
together to support it.
- Building a new ethic of stewardship. The Secretary-General recommends
1) Education of the public.
2) "Green accounting", to integrate the environment into economic
3) Regulations and incentives.
4) More accurate scientific data.
VI. 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:
- Identifying 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.
- Networking 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.
- Making 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.
- Advancing 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
VII. For consideration by
The 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 those values.