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Annan Hails Civil Society Organizations

Annan Hails Civil Society Organizations, Crediting Their Support For His Achievements

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told more than 2,500 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered in New York for their last annual meeting before his term ends in December that the support of civil society groups has been critical to his accomplishments.

Mr. Annan, who is widely viewed as having broken new ground in terms of NGO involvement in the UN’s work, also stressed the vital role these groups have played in achieving progress on a number of political and social issues.

“Much of my daily work involves contacts with Governments. Yet, much of what I have achieved as Secretary-General was made possible by your support and involvement,” he told the closing session of the annual conference, which is organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

“That is why, as I approach my own transition from public civil servant to a private life, I am particularly delighted to be amongst so many civil society representatives from all over of the world who have gathered here to learn, exchange ideas and build ties,” Mr. Annan said.

The Secretary-General, whose second and final five year term expires at the end of this year, looked back “with some pride and satisfaction on a decade in which UN-civil society interactions have both widened and deepened.”

“From debt relief and the fight against disease to good governance, human rights, the global NGO revolution has helped move the global agenda and given new life and new meaning to the idea of an international community,” he said. “More and more, the initiative in taking action to improve the human conditions comes from voluntary groups such as yours.

Looking ahead, the Secretary-General outlined a vision of a civil society role “with virtually no limits, but one which gives you solemn obligations to your constituents.” He urged participants to wield their growing influence responsibly and to strengthen alliances with the UN, the private sector, the public sector and among each other.

“I see a United Nations keenly aware that if our unfinished agenda – in human security, in sustainable development and beyond – is to be realized, we must share our knowledge and reinforce our actions,” he said. “I see a United Nations that celebrates the non-governmental revolution – the power of the global citizen – as the best ῴhing that has happened to our Organization in a long, long time.


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