Press Releases

    13 November 2002


    NEW YORK, 12 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the inauguration of the United Nations House in Turkey, delivered by Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund, in Ankara today:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to everyone who has gathered for the inauguration of United Nations House, the new home of the United Nations system in Turkey.

    UN House is more than a building, and more than a set of offices, desks and computers. It is a symbol: of your commitment to work better together, and of the very concept on which the United Nations itself was built -- a house of all nations, held together by common values, bonds and aspirations.

    UN House is also an important component of the ongoing effort to strengthen the Organization, make it more dynamic and effective, and improve our performance, particularly at the country level. Since 1997, 37 UN houses have been designated around the world, and several others have been identified for designation. Here in Ankara, UN House provides a permanent home for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the World Health Organization (WHO, as well as temporary accommodation for the World Food Programme (WFP) and others. And while the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are not currently housed in these common premises, I am sure that close collaboration among all United Nations entities will continue.

    Such cooperation is crucial for the success of your mission. Whether you are working to promote human rights and gender equity, to improve governance or to eradicate poverty, it is of utmost importance that your efforts reinforce each other, that you avoid turf disputes, rivalry or duplication, and that you pool your resources to achieve the greatest possible impact. UN House is meant to facilitate the contacts that will help you do just that.

    UN House is also a symbol of the historically strong bonds between the United Nations and Turkey, one of the Organization’s founding Members. I am glad to see the people of Turkey working so closely with United Nations agencies, and I am impressed by the large number of national staff serving at various levels in the United Nations system in Turkey.

    In conclusion, I would like to thank the Government and people of Turkey for their cooperation, and the UN Country Team for its hard work and dedication. I wish you every success as you start work in these new quarters, which I hope will be a vibrant meeting place for all partners in our shared mission of peace and development.

    In that spirit, it is my distinct pleasure to declare the United Nations House in Turkey officially open.

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