29 October 2001


NEW YORK, 25 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan today at the ceremony in honour of the UN 21 Awards 2000 recipients:

In the spotlight of the many challenges facing the world today, we may sometimes lose sight of the important role that good administration plays in advancing our global efforts for peace and development. Yet it is your work and your dedication that enable us to carry out the mandates which are entrusted to us by Member States. You are the backbone of this Organization.

The UN 21 Awards were established in 1996 to recognize the outstanding contributions of staff and honour staff members who, through their work, help improve the way we do business.

Over the past five years, I have striven to reform human resources management, as part of the overall reform of the Organization. We have already achieved a lot, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that staff and managers have the skills and knowledge they need to do their job.

Efficiency must be our watchword. We must respond with the highest professionalism to old and new challenges, and search for cost-effective ways to carry out our critical work. With this in mind, this year's award-winners have helped us to communicate better, to disseminate information about our work more effectively, and to improve the way we manage our resources. Their respective departments –- the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, the Department of Public Information and the Department of Management -- have greatly benefited from their valuable work. And that in turn has been a plus for the Organization as a whole.

Two weeks ago, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award us the Nobel Peace Prize for our work "for a better organized and more peaceful world". And it recognized that we have managed to do our work, while bringing about a "more efficient utilization of the United Nations' modest resources".

So, my dear colleagues, let me thank all of you for your hard work. And congratulations to the award-winners!

[Note: For details of awards see Note to Correspondents No. 5689 issued on 23 October.]

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