Kofi Annan

10 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary-General's message for launch of UNESCO special initiative for national programmes of community multimedia centres in Mali, Mozambique and Senegal [delivered by Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO]

A community multimedia centre –where local people themselves run their own radio station, can use telephones and the Internet and enjoy access to other information services and training –is a tremendous platform for development. Though their use is only in its earliest stages, already we have seen the gains: in key areas such as education, health, agriculture and environmental protection; in the empowerment of women and young people; and, in the broadest sense, in helping a community to take charge of its own future.

10 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

Press encounter with Secretary-General and Ross Mountain, Special Representative for Iraq, ad interim (rev. 1)

SG: Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. As you all know, I issued a report on Iraq to the Security Council today indicating how and where the UN would operate and assist the people of Iraq. And I also indicated in that report that I am naming a senior person to run the UN operations from the region, and that individual is Mr. Ross Mountain who has had extensive experience with the UN and in other crisis areas from East Timor to Afghanistan, to Lebanon, to Haiti. He will be in charge of our office which will be based in Nicosia and with a presence also in Amman.

09 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary-General's remarks at official welcome ceremony for the World Summit on the Information Society hosted by H.E. Mr. Pascal Couchepin, President of Switzerland

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a truly inspiring to see so many people from around the world gather in one place for this important global event.

I would like to thank Mr. Utsumi of the ITU for all his efforts in working with the Swiss Government and others in bringing this all together.

If there is a single word, one overriding idea, that sums up why we are here, it is connections.

Connections and partnerships among Governments, civil society and the private sector.

09 December 2003, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in Darfur, Sudan

The Secretary-General is alarmed at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, and by reports of widespread abuses against civilians, including killings, rape and the burning and looting of entire villages. Insecurity is also severely hampering humanitarian assistance efforts as many of the one million civilians affected by the conflict remain beyond the reach of relief workers.

09 December 2003, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on a bombing in Moscow

The Secretary-General was shocked to learn that the Russian Federation had been the victim of yet another act of terror, this time in Moscow, that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. Terrorism can never be justified, under any circumstances whatsoever. He sends his deepest condolences to the Government of the Russian Federation and to the families and friends of those who were so heartlessly killed.

09 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary-General's remarks at opening ceremony of the World Electronic Media Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just seen, in voices and reports from around the world, the power and paradox facing all of us, as producers and consumers of electronic media in the information age.

The power is clear:

- to educate and entertain;

- to inspire and inform;

- to sound the alarm and arouse the conscience;

- to bring people and places closer together;

- to shine a light on injustice.

In the information age, electronic media are among our most important vehicles of peace, progress and solidarity.

09 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary-General's remarks at the launch of the Global Commission on International Migration

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

I'm happy to be able to join you for the launch of the Global Commission on International Migration. I congratulate the Core Group of States from both North and South on taking this initiative. And I'm very pleased that Jan Karlsson and Mamphela Ramphele will serve as Co-Chairs. Jan and Mamphela, you and the Commission have my strong support.

Migration is as old as humanity, and it is a vital part of our future. And while migration policy is made at the national level, it has obvious international impact.

09 December 2003, Merida, Mexico

Secretary-General's message at the opening of the High-level Political Conference for the Purpose of Signing the UN Convention against Corruption [delivered by Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs]

Corruption is an insidious scourge that impoverishes many countries, and affects us all. The signing of this Convention is a major victory in our struggle against it. Each year, this day will be celebrated as the United Nations Day against Corruption.

We have come a long way. Until the early 1990s, corruption was hardly ever mentioned in official circles, although everybody knew it was there. It took great efforts and perseverance by many people to raise awareness of the corrosive effects of corruption on societies, and to put the fight against this plague on the global agenda.

09 December 2003, Accra, Ghana

Secretary-General's message for souvenir brochure for launch of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in Information and Communications Technologies [delivered by Mr. Alfred Fawundu, UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana]

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate both the Government of Ghana and the Government of India on the partnership that has brought the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT from just an idea to the state-of-the-art facility we see before us today. This is also an especially vivid demonstration of South-South cooperation.

09 December 2003,

Break the technology barrier - The world information summit

The World Summit on the Information Society, which begins Wednesday in Geneva, is in danger of having its main objective - how best to harness the power of information technology for development - overshadowed by differences on a pair of issues.