8 March 2001


NEW YORK, 7 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council, as it met today in New York to follow up on its 7 September 2000 Summit:

It gives me great pleasure to join you today for this open debate on the implementation of decisions taken last September, when this Council met -- for only the second time in its history -- at the level of heads of State and government. Let me thank you, Mr. President, for initiating this timely review. The Security Council Summit was indeed a historic occasion, which demonstrated in a most eloquent way the commitment of the States represented on this Council to making its work more effective.

That commitment was spelled out in resolution 1318 (2000), adopted at the Summit, in which the Council undertook to act preventively in future; to improve the capacity of the United Nations to act effectively; and to act quickly and decisively.

I told the Council on that day that it was facing a crisis of credibility. We are here today to assess whether that is still true, or what progress has been made in overcoming that crisis.

Before you enter the debate, I would like to ask you to consider one point very carefully. The resolutions of this Council are not self-implementing. In themselves, they hardly do more than express a wish or an aspiration. Their impact on reality depends on a great deal of subsequent effort, by Member States as well as by the Secretariat. It is therefore vital that the distinguished delegates who attend the Council's meetings regularly maintain a constant a dialogue with those capitals, which should stimulate dialogue in those capitals, focusing on how to translate the aspirations contained in each resolution into real change on the ground. This dialogue needs to start before a resolution is passed, and it needs to continue long afterwards.

I know that all, or most, members of the Council are now engaged in such dialogues. The Secretariat stands ready and willing to assist them. But too often these dialogues involve only a handful of experts. Only through a much deeper and broader involvement of Member States, reaching up to the highest political level, can the will and resources needed to implement your resolutions be mustered.

That of course applies to resolution 1318 itself. In that resolution the Council, meeting at the level of heads of State and government, pledged, among other things, to make the United Nations more effective in addressing conflict, at all stages from prevention through political settlement to post-conflict peace-building. It also affirmed its determination to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping operations. It listed the measures by which it would do so, and resolution 1327, adopted two months later, spelled out those measures in much greater detail. Those two resolutions, therefore, are ones to which Member States have committed themselves in a particularly solemn way. I hope that not only you, excellencies, but your colleagues and political masters back home, will make the most strenuous efforts to see those resolutions translated into concrete action.

Mr. President, let me thank you for the most useful working paper which you prepared for this meeting, and in which you ask a number of very pertinent questions. Let me sum up my remarks by adding one question of my own, namely: Are your capitals now engaged in an active debate on the best way to fulfil the commitments made by the Council in resolutions 1318 and 1327? Come to that, are they seriously discussing how to implement resolution 1325, on women and peace and security, or the recently adopted presidential statements on strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries, and on peace-building?

There is no doubt that, with these decisions in the past six months, the Council has undertaken important new commitments. I hope that the next six months will be marked by equally vigorous action to put those commitments into effect. I look forward eagerly to hearing your conclusions.

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