Press Releases

    13 September 2002


    NEW YORK, 12 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the luncheon held on the occasion of the general debate in New York on 12 September:

    Don’t worry, I will be brief. I think you’ve listened to enough speeches this morning.

    I am delighted to see all of you here. Some of you are old friends, some of you are new ones and others are potential ones. But let me welcome to the table, in particular, the newest member of our family, of this family of nations -- Switzerland, which was formally admitted two days ago; and let me leap ahead of events a bit and convey a message of welcome also to Timor-Leste, which is scheduled to follow in two weeks’ time.

    These two countries, in many ways so different, located on different sides of the globe, have a surprising amount in common. They both held a great deal of significance for the United Nations long before they became members of the Organization; they both bring to it a deep sense of commitment to its principles and ideals.

    Such a sense of commitment will be required among all Member States in the year ahead, as we pursue our urgent and overriding mission to translate the Millennium Development Goals into reality and work for freedom from want, freedom from fear and for the protection of the planet’s resources.

    Only last week, many of us were in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development and I would want once again to thank President Mbeki and the people of South Africa for the great hospitality they gave us and the way they organized that Conference. How we follow up our achievements there will be a crucial test and will be a test to the progress we have to make if we are going to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Sustainable development itself is one of the Goals of the Millennium Development, but a Goal which is a prerequisite if we are going to reach all the others.

    Let us be honest: during the two years of the work to implement the Millennium Declaration, the record of the international community has been mixed, at best. In the mere 13 years that remain for us to reach our targets, progress must be made on a much broader front. The focus from now on must be on implementing all the commitments that have been made.

    As experience has already shown us -- in Johannesburg and elsewhere -- great progress has been made through partnerships bringing together Member States, international institutions, civil society and the private sector; through a coordinated strategy that combines our energies, with all the will and the resources to apply to it. Let me say that we do have an alliance for progress. We have created a real alliance for progress and if we work together we will attain our goals.

    And so dear friends, join me in a toast -- a toast to an era of commitment and implementation. And above all, let us act as truly United Nations.

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