2 July 2003


NEW YORK, 1 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon receiving the Olé Prize of the Children’s Parliament of the City of Bern, Switzerland, today:

I am deeply moved and honoured to be the first to receive the Olé Prize of the Children’s Parliament of the City of Bern.  With this prize, you are not only honouring me, but the whole United Nations, and its work for a more peaceful, healthier and fairer world.

That means you have understood something very important -- that the United Nations is your organization.  It was created almost 60 years ago to serve the people of the world -- not only the people who were alive then, but future generations as well.  That means you!

What do the people of the world want?  They want to live free from poverty and from fear.  They want the right to health and education.  They want to live on a clean and healthy planet -- and they want their children to be able to do the same.

That is why the United Nations have agreed that some of the most urgent things we have to do in this new century are to fight poverty and disease, prevent wars, preserve the environment, and protect children.  That’s what they said in the Millennium Declaration, when the leaders of all countries in the world met and adopted this declaration in New York three years ago. 

If the people of the world are to enjoy better lives in the twenty-first century, those promises must be kept.  It is mostly up to governments to keep them.  But the people of the world -- and especially young people like you, who will be tomorrow’s leaders -- have a very important role to play.  With your enthusiasm and your energy, you can help make change happen.  Each contribution, however small, can make a difference.  Together, we can build the better world that all of us want to see. 

Thank you again for this wonderful prize, and good luck to all of you!

* *** *