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    31 December 1999
    The Secretary-General
    Message for the New Millennium
    31 December 1999


    My dear friends all over the world,

     Today we celebrate a special New Year with a momentous number: the Year Two Thousand.

     As we move into a new Millennium, many of us have much to be thankful for. Most of the world is at peace. Most of us are better educated than our parents or grandparents, and can expect to live longer lives, with greater freedom and a wider range of choices.

     A new century brings new hope, but can also bring new dangers - or old ones in a new and alarming form. Some of us fear seeing our jobs and our way of life destroyed by economic change. Others fear the spread of bigotry, violence or disease. Others still are more worried that human activities may be ruining the global environment on which our life depends.

     No one knows for sure how serious each of these dangers will be. But one thing they have in common: they do not respect state frontiers. 

     Even the strongest state, acting alone, may be unable to protect its citizens against them.

     More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. 

     And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.

     Through the United Nations, we are working together to preserve peace; to outlaw weapons that kill and maim indiscriminately; to bring mass murderers and war criminals to justice.

     Through the United Nations, we are working together to defeat AIDS and other epidemics; to control climate change; to make clean air and water available to everyone.

     Through the United Nations, we are working together to ensure that the global market benefits all of us, allowing the poor to lift themselves out of poverty.

     Through the United Nations, we are working together to make human rights a reality for everyone – to give all human beings real choices in life, and a real say in decisions that affect their lives.

     In all these areas and more, the United Nations is working for you. But it can do little without you. After all, it belongs to you – you, the peoples of the world. And therefore it can work much better with your help and your ideas. 

     My friends, the new millennium need not be a time of fear or anxiety. If we work together and have faith  in our own abilities, it can be a time of hope and opportunity. It’s up to us to make it so.

     Happy New Year!

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