For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:  UNIS/SG/2585
Release Date: 5 June 2000
Secretary-General Says Globalization Must Work in Favour of Human Rights
And Justice Between Men and Women, Not Against Them

NEW YORK, 2 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message for the opening of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) exhibition, “Progress of the World’s Women”, on 5 June:

Five years ago, in Beijing, the world took a giant step forward on behalf of womankind.  For the first time, it recognized explicitly that gender equality is critical to the development and peace of every nation.  Today, with the opening of the Beijing Plus Five special session, and with the publication of UNIFEM’s “Progress of the World’s Women”, we take another step forward in fulfilling our promise of equality between women and men. 

Much has been done in the past five years to further that goal.  Women today are not only more aware of their rights:  they are more able to exercise those rights as well.  Yet, for all that has been accomplished, much work remains to be done. 

As we begin a new century, let us renew our commitment to complete the task we started in Beijing.  We must deliver on our promise of equality for all the women of this world. 

No single government, institution or sector can do this on its own.  In a globalizing world, we need partnerships among governments, civil society and business, based on shared responsibility and common ground.  We must ensure that globalization works in favour of human rights and justice between men and women, not against them.

In such partnerships, the United Nations has a key role to play.  Our job is to ensure that agreements made at United Nations conferences are implemented, in a way that creates opportunities for the world's women, especially poor women. 

UNIFEM's launch of “Progress of the World's Women” -- both the book and this exhibition -- is a call to action.  Together, they speak forcefully for the hopes and dreams of the world's women.  Women want what we all want:  a world in which the basic needs of every human being are fulfilled as a basic right; where poverty and all forms of violence are eliminated; where women's unpaid work of nurturing and caring is valued equally with the paid work of women and men – and that the nurturing and caring is indeed shared
equally by men.  They want a world where everyone has the chance to develop her or his full potential; where progress for women is recognized as progress for all.

This exhibition shows the kind of partnerships and progress that a globalizing world makes possible. It shows what can be achieved by a partnership  comprising a United Nations entity, a cultural institution, the private sector, and creative individuals from around the world.

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