Press Releases

    1 February 2002


    NEW YORK, 1 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the address by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Hague International Model United Nations, delivered at The Hague today, 1 February:

    Nane and I are delighted to be with you today. I had already heard very good things about the Hague International Model United Nations -- and now I can see why! Your annual conference rightly enjoys an outstanding global reputation for the dedication, energy and talent of its participants. Let me also congratulate David Williams on his twenty-fifth anniversary conference, and thank him for his abiding support for the United Nations over the past quarter-century.

    Seeing so many young people from different countries coming together in support of our Organization is truly heartening to me. First, because the United Nations is your United Nations. It was created more than 50 years ago for the peoples of the world, whose future you represent. Second, because it is very encouraging to see that so many of you, the leaders of tomorrow, are actively engaged in our work.

    By coming together and assuming the positions of different Member States, by walking in their shoes, so to speak, you will have gained new insights and come to understand a diversity of points of view. This is good preparation for leadership in the twenty-first century.

    We probably have a future Secretary-General here today. And when she assumes office, she will, I suspect, consider this General Assembly Session an inspirational moment.

    This is a crucial time in the life of our United Nations, as we seek to rebuild and recover from the events of 11 September and their aftermath, while pursuing our overriding mission to meet the Millennium goals and work for freedom from fear, freedom from want, and protection of the resources of this planet. In pursuing those goals, our guiding motto must be to put people at the centre of everything we do.

    The number of people in this world living on one dollar or less per day, in hunger and without safe water, has not decreased. The numbers dying of AIDS and other infectious diseases have not decreased.

    The factors that cause the desert to advance, biodiversity to be lost, and the earth’s atmosphere to warm, have not decreased. And in the many parts of the world afflicted by the scourge of war, innocent people have not ceased being murdered or mutilated, dragged or driven from their homes.

    In short, the agenda of peace and development set out in the Millennium Declaration is no less pressing than it was in September 2001. On the contrary, it has taken on new urgency.

    That is where the United Nations depends on the support of individuals throughout the world -- in particular young people like you, who will take over during this century. The Millennium goals are ambitious. Their impact on reality depends on a great deal of effort, not only by the United Nations Secretariat but also by Member States. It was national leaders, from all States of the world, who adopted the Millennium Declaration in September 2000. It is up to them, above all, to see that it is put into practice. But governments can’t do it alone –- they will need to work in partnership with civil society, NGOs, the private sector and young people like you.

    I know that you have already started thinking about how you can make the United Nations -- this truly indispensable instrument -- as effective and responsive as it can be, in the service of the people it exists to serve.

    I thank all of you for your commitment, and hope that many more will follow your example.

    Thank you very much. Dank je vel.

    * *** *