New York

07 December 2006

Secretary-General's message to the International Conference on Enhancing Security for Major Events [delivered by Mr. David Veness, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security]

It is a pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in this conference.

This event, convened by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, offers an important opportunity to bring to the attention of the international community the issue of security at large-scale events, and the need to ensure effective implementation of the resolution on the subject adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council.

That resolution encourages Member States to strengthen their cooperation in this area, including through the framework of UNICRI's International Permanent Observatory on Security Measures during Major Events. Indeed, UNICRI plays an invaluable role in identifying and disseminating best practices aimed at strengthening protection against terrorist attacks targeting large-scale events and gatherings. The Institute has developed the Observatory while bearing in mind the need to build up the capacity of national institutions, as well as the need to balance security with human rights. Looking ahead, UNICRI will continue to expand its work on the Observatory, including by providing technical assistance and advisory services to those Member States that request such help.

In classical times, when the Greeks held their Olympic Games, an “Olympic Peace” was observed for the duration of the Games so that participants and spectators could take part without fear of violence. The idea of such a truce has been revived in modern times, even if it has not had the desired impact. Still, we must act in that spirit, and do our utmost to ensure that major large-scale events, from sporting field to convention hall, can take place in peace. With that hope in mind, I wish you a successful Conference and thank you for your commitment to building a more secure world.