Press Releases

    10 May 2002

    Secretary-General Says Private Sector Rising to Challenge of Global Citizenship in Remarks to "Public-Private Partnership Dialogue"

    NEW YORK, 9 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks today of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Public-Private Partnership Dialogue, held during the General Assembly's special session on children:

    I am indeed very happy to be able to join you this morning. And I am also pleased that we have so many eminent heads of States with us. We have President [Alejandro] Toledo of Peru, President [Tarja] Halonen of Finland, and President [Vicente] Fox of Mexico. I am really happy that we are all here, as well as leaders of the private sector and civil society, and I think this is really heartening indeed.

    It reflects, in my view, the wonderful understanding of the importance of public-private partnerships in our work to build a better world. It also shows us that the private sector is truly rising to the challenge of global citizenship -- and that governments and civil society are welcoming them as indispensable partners. Many of the companies here are already engaged in the Global Compact, the United Nations initiative to foster corporate responsibility worldwide.

    Above all, it is living proof that whatever our role in life, there is nothing that unites us and motivates us more than the welfare of children.

    Children are our future. It is only by investing in them and their well-being that we can hope to build the healthy, prosperous and peaceful world we all strive for. The development of children must lie at the heart of our work to reach the Millennium Development Goals -- a blueprint for a better world agreed to by all the leaders of the world.

    Public-private partnerships have the power to help children in many ways. As we have heard earlier, you can give direct and practical support to the agreed outcomes of this special session, in health, education and development -- from improved nutrition to the prevention and treatment of AIDS, from the education of girls to safe drinking water and sanitation.

    In fact, I understand you may already have some exciting initiatives in the pipeline, and I look forward to hearing about them.

    You can use your influence on behalf of the developing world by lobbying for debt relief, for an increase in development assistance, and for what in the long run will make a much bigger difference than either of those two: genuinely open markets in which the countries of the developing world can compete freely and trade their way out of poverty, rather than live on hand-outs.

    We were in Monterrey last month, where we really came out with an exciting consensus, where we had indications that both the United States and Europe are going to increase their development assistance. The debt-relief issue was on the table, and questions of direct foreign investment and trade. On all these issues, you have influence in your own communities, with your own politicians, and we look forward to hearing your voices. You should lobby and work with us in this area.

    I think in this way, you can help us ensure that globalization works for all the peoples of the world -- in particular those who are going to take over the next generation.

    Through your commitment, influence and example, you will also open doors to yet more partnerships, more coalitions for common cause. I believe that such alliances are the way of the future, and the way to invest in children.

    I am grateful to every one of you for your leadership, and I'm really happy that you're here this morning with us.

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