SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING CLOSING SESSION OF MILLENNIUM SUMMIT, SEES REMARKABLE CONVERGENCE OF VIEWS20000908
Following is the text of the statement by Secretary General Kofi Annan to the closing session of the Millennium Summit, delivered this evening, 8 September:
Let me thank you all for coming to this historic Summit, and for the clarity of the course you have charted.
Over the past three days I have listened to you all with close attention, and I have read with great care the Declaration you have just adopted. I am struck by the remarkable convergence of views on the challenge that faces us. And by the urgency of your call to action.
You have said that your first priority is the eradication of extreme poverty. You have set specific targets related to that goal, and you have prescribed measures for achieving them.
If the measures are really taken, we all know the targets can be reached.
Many of you have said that you understand the potential benefits of globalization, but that your peoples have yet to feel them.
You have acknowledged that part of the solution lies in the hands of sovereign States, which must give priority to the needs of their people, especially the poorest.
But you have also called for a more equitable world economy, where all countries have a fair chance to compete, and where those who have more will do more for those who have less.
Speaker after speaker has stressed the urgent need to release poor countries from their burden of debt. You expressed interest in finding new approaches to this problem, including a system of arbitration or mediation which would balance the interests of creditors with those of sovereign debtors. I will give further thought to this idea, and suggest ways in which it could be done.
You have said that it is intolerable, as we enter a new century, that millions of innocent people, especially women and children, should still fall victim to brutal conflict.
- 2 - Press Release SG/SM/7540 8 September 2000
We all know that in this area the United Nations has fallen short of what the world expects. We must strengthen our capacity, and improve our performance, so that vulnerable communities feel able to count on us in their hour of need. That is why so many of you welcomed the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, and promised to act quickly on its recommendations.
You have reaffirmed the vital importance of international law, which is the common language of our international community. Over 80 of you, during this Summit, have taken action to adhere to international legal instruments that are central to the spirit of our Charter.
Most of these actions concern protocols that seek to protect children from abuses that bring shame to all humankind. Your action is a welcome sign that humankind is coming together, at last, to put an end to them.
You have called for higher priority to be given to the special needs of Africa, where poverty and all its attendant ills seem most intractable.
And you have said that we need more effective international institutions, starting with the United Nations system.
In your minds, clearly, the reform that we began together three years ago is not complete. I agree, and I look forward to working with you to take it further.
Almost every one of you has called for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council. That surely must give new impetus to the search for consensus on this thorny but unavoidable issue.
You are concerned, rightly, with the effectiveness of this Organization. You want action. Above all, you want results.
You are right, and I look forward to working with you, over the coming year, to ensure that the United Nations of the twenty-first century can deliver real improvements in the life of the world's people.
You have sketched out clear directions for adapting this Organization to its role in the new century. But ultimately, you are yourselves the United Nations.
It lies in your power, and therefore it is your responsibility, to reach the goals that you have defined. Only you can determine whether the United Nations rises to the challenge.
For my part, I hereby re-dedicate myself, as from today, to carrying out your mandate. I know that the whole staff of the United Nations does the same.
And now I wish you all a safe journey home.
* *** *