For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2606
Release Date:  4 July 2000
 Secretary-General Stresses UN Role in Fighting Child Labour, Increasing
Literacy, Promoting Women’s Equality and Combating HIV/AID S

NEW YORK, 3 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks yesterday at Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany:

It gives me great pleasure to be here today for Expo 2000 and to see these wonderful pavilions, including the United Nations Pavilion, the German Pavilion, the African Pavilion and others that I will visit today.

Hanover has always been a great crossroads of Germany and of Europe.  Today it is a crossroads for the world.  

The German Government and the Expo Authority have gone all out in their efforts to make this a truly global affair.  And the response has been terrific.

Close to 200 countries and organizations are taking part, making this the largest international exhibition ever held.  The pavilions have done wonders with architecture, technology and just plain fun, and I have no doubt that the millions of people expected to come here will have an unforgettable experience.

The United Nations is pleased and honoured to participate in Expo 2000.  The words "United Nations" are known throughout the world.  Our Charter has been translated into more than 100 languages and dialects.  But the Organization itself is often not understood, and we ourselves often don't tell our story as well as we should.  The United Nations pavilion should help change that.  With the help of the latest high-tech and highly interactive technologies, it brings the United Nations -- our aims, our programmes, our people -- to life.  It is intended to explain the United Nations to the world -- to our customers, by which I mean all peoples of the world, whom we exist to serve.

It is meant to show them that their concerns are our concerns, that their agenda is ours as well, and -- most of all -- that the United Nations is an instrument in their hands, which they can use to push forward the cause of progress and peace.

Our work is as varied as the peoples and pavilions that populate this fair.

The United Nations works to preserve the earth's precious resources, and to protect its fragile environment.  We strive to end child labour, increase literacy and promote women's equality.  We are leading the global campaign to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other deadly diseases.

We may be at the dawn of a new millennium, but some of the problems we face are painfully familiar.
Conflict remains a scourge, so our peacekeeping operations continue to be needed, as do our efforts to outlaw weapons of mass destruction and clear landmines.

More than a billion of our fellow human beings remain mired in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 a day, so we are working to bring them into the global market -- or should I say, to bring the global market to them?

And discrimination continues to poison societies, so we are persisting in our hopes of building a global culture of tolerance.  Around the world, 24 hours a day, the United Nations is at work for this and more.  Indeed, the theme of our pavilion is "The United Nations Works for You".

International exhibitions have been a mirror of our world at successive moments in history.  In the 1800s, they showed societies coming to grips with the industrial revolution.  In 1962 in Seattle, a new generation of technological marvels was on display -- touch-tone telephones and a supersonic jet.  Computer designers at the time unveiled an extraordinary achievement:  a computer small enough to fit into a medium-sized room!

The theme of Expo 2000 -- "humankind, nature, technology" -- could not be more timely.  Today there is an urgent need not only to understand each other as people, but also to understand how the challenges we face connect with each other.  Interdependence among issues is just as important today as interdependence among nations.

World fairs have always been hopeful, too.  No matter what dangers lurk, they always show us that a brighter future is possible.  So let us be inspired.  Let everyone who visits Expo 2000 be inspired to do what he or she can to improve our world.  And the let the message go forth from this fair:  the United Nations works for you, and you, and you -- all of you, the world over.  Thank you very much.

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