14 February 2003

Secretary-General Announces Establishment of Panel of Eminent Persons on UN Relations With Civil Society

NEW YORK, 13 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today's statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the establishment of the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations Relations with Civil Society:

As promised in my report to the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly, Strengthening the United Nations: an agenda for further change, I am pleased to announce today the establishment of a Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations Relations with Civil Society, and the appointment of Fernando Henrique Cardoso as my Special Adviser and Chairman of the Panel. I look forward to receiving the Panel's report and recommendations within the next 12 months.

The members of the Panel have been invited to serve in their personal capacity. They bring to its work a range of different perspectives and experiences. The members of the Panel will be:

H.E. Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Iran)

Ms. Birgitta Dahl (Sweden)

Ms. Peggy Dulany (United States)

H.E. Ambassador André Erdös (Hungary)

Ms. Asma Khader (Jordan)

Mr. Juan Mayr (Colombia)

Ms. Malini Mehra (India)

Mr. Kumi Naidoo (South Africa)

Ms. Mary Racelis (Philippines)

Mr. Prakash Ratilal (Mozambique)

Ms. Aminata Traoré (Mali)

Improving the interaction between the United Nations and the many diverse actors in civil society is an essential step towards reforming the United Nations. The goals of the United Nations can only be achieved if civil society, as well as governments and international agencies, are fully engaged.

I look to the Panel, under the able chairmanship of Mr. Cardoso, to take stock of the United Nations work with civil society and to recommend how it can be improved. Such improvement can only benefit the peoples in whose name the United Nations was founded.

I thank Mr. Cardoso and the other members of the Panel for agreeing to take on this formidable and important task.

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