23 April 2001


NEW YORK, 20 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the United Nations Association-United States of America (UNA-USA) Global Leadership Award Dinner in New York yesterday, honouring Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO):

It is an honour for me to join in this tribute to Dr. Brundtland.

Allow me, at the outset, to commend UNA-USA -- not only for recognizing Dr. Brundtland's visionary approach to global interdependence and to the inextricable link between health and development, but also for incorporating that vision into the UNA-USA campaign for global health which you are launching at this time.

Gro, this is one of the many examples of how you are showing us the way to work for a healthy planet.

You have explained that with globalization, one microbial sea washes all humankind, and the separation between national and international health agendas no longer works. You have understood that poverty lies at the root of many ills, and that ill health has a devastating effect on the economies of developing nations. You have rightly argued, therefore, that health is an important way of channelling the forces of globalization to build more just and equitable global society.

Your leadership was never more important than at this time, when the world is mounting a coordinated response to the global AIDS crisis. From our preparations for the General Assembly's special session on HIV/AIDS, to our partnerships with civil society, to our dialogue with the pharmaceutical industry -- your work is indispensable and your voice is inspiring.

On that score, let me take this moment to point out that your expertise is matched by an exceptional level of energy.

I'll never forget how, just a few weeks ago, you attended a meeting of UNAIDS co-sponsors in Nairobi, flew through the night to Amsterdam, and -- one hour after landing – sat down with six pharmaceutical executives and myself to discuss some highly complex issues about AIDS drug pricing. And yet, you were as fresh and alert as anyone around the table.

So when it comes to your own global health, as well as global leadership, Gro, you are a walking example to us all. My warmest congratulations on this award -- nobody deserves it more. Thank you.

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