Annan's Final UN Day Message
In Final UN Day Message, Annan Warns That Much Still Needs To Be Done
New York, Oct 23 2006 2:00PM
In his final message for United Nations Day as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan warned today that much still needs to be done in the common struggle for development, security and human rights, and he urged world leaders to work with his successor, Ban Ki-moon, to make the world body ever stronger and more effective.
“I have spent almost my whole professional life working for the United Nations – so this day, and the values that it stands for, will always be special for me,” Mr. Annan said in a message released ahead of the Day, celebrated on 24 October – a UN holiday this year celebrating the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Citing progress made since he assumed office 10 years ago, Mr. Annan noted that aid and debt relief has increased, the world is scaling up its response to HIV/AIDS, there are fewer wars between States than there used to be, many civil wars have ended, and more Governments are elected by, and accountable to, the people whom they govern.
“And all States have acknowledged, at least in words, their responsibility to protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” he said. “But there is so much that still needs doing,” he added, citing the growing gap between rich and poor.
He stressed that very few countries are on track to reach all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to slash a host of social ills such as extreme poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, and a lack of access to education by 2015.
Many people still face atrocities, repression, and brutal conflicts, the nuclear non-proliferation regime requires urgent attention, and terrorism and the reaction to it are spreading fear and suspicion, he added.
“It seems we don’t even agree which threats are most important,” Mr. Annan declared. “Those who live in small islands may see global warming as the biggest danger. Those who live in a city that has suffered terrorist attacks – like New York, or Mumbai, or Istanbul – may feel that confronting terrorism is more urgent. Others againᾠmay cite povertΌ, disease, or genocide.
“The truth is, these are all global threats. All of us should be concerned about all of them. Otherwise, we may not succeed in dealing with any of them.”
Mr. Annan, who steps down on 31 December at the end of two five-year terms, called on the peoples of the world to urge their leaders to work with Mr. Ban for the betterment of the UN.
“Long live our planet, and its peoples. Long live
the United Nations!” he concluded.