Press Releases

    21 September 2004

    Secretary-General Affirms Commitment to Achieving Fair, Inclusive Globalization in Remarks to Headquarters Event

    NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks to the event “A Fair Globalization:  Implementing the Millennium Declaration” in New York, 20 September:

    It is indeed a pleasure to join you today, and to come together with a number of distinguished world leaders from both North and South, who are committed to achieving a fair and inclusive globalization.

    That is a vision I strongly share, and it is a vision that lies at the heart of the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization.

    I congratulate Juan Somavia for taking the initiative to set up the World Commission, and I thank Presidents Halonen and Mkapa for co-chairing the eminent, diverse and committed team that produced the Commission’s report.

    As the report points out, globalization’s benefits have been unevenly distributed.  Many of its burdens have fallen hardest on those who can least protect themselves.

    Too many people, particularly in developing countries, feel excluded and threatened by globalization.

    They feel that they are the servants of markets, when it should be the other way around.

    One reason they feel this way is that the spread of global markets has far outpaced the development of institutions to manage the economic and social aspects of globalization.

    As a result, global governance suffers from a serious democratic deficit.

    It does not give developing countries a fair say.

    And it is too fragmented.

    That is why I warmly welcome the World Commission’s call for a stronger, more efficient multilateral system that creates a more legitimate and coherent framework for managing globalization.

    We should also not forget that, in a range of areas -- including trade, financing for development, and debt relief -- solemn promises have been made.

    We should not await institutional reform before summoning the political will to keep those promises.

    Nor should developing countries lose sight of the fact that, if globalization is to be managed better, a lot must be done at home.

    To harness the benefits of globalization, States need to strengthen the rule of law, build democratic political systems, respect human rights, invest in education, health care and infrastructure, and promote social equity.

    As the report rightly stresses, employment creation, the protection of fundamental rights at work, strengthening social protection and broadening social dialogue are keys to a globalization that promotes not just economic reform, but social progress.

    After all, the best anti-poverty programme is employment. And the best road to economic empowerment and social well-being lies in decent work.

    In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders pledged to work to make globalization a positive force for all the world’s people.

    I have no doubt that, in next year’s review of the Millennium Declaration, it will be clear that we have a long way to go to meet that goal.

    To bring that goal closer to reality, we must summon the political will to keep our promises, and find the common ground necessary to renew our multilateral system.

    After all, globalization is a product of human action, not a force of nature. As this report reminds us, it is well within our power to manage it far better than we do -- and we owe it to our fellow human beings to do just that.

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