Press Releases

    13 October 2004

    Secretary-General, in Message to Special Representatives, Envoys, Stresses Importance of Integrated, Effective Responses to Demands in Field

    NEW YORK, 12 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the third UNITAR Seminar for Special Representatives and Envoys in Geneva, today, 12 October 2004, as delivered by Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs:

    I deeply regret that I am unable to join you this year at the third Seminar for Special Representatives and Envoys organized by UNITAR.  I very much wanted to do so, since the time we spend face-to-face is extremely valuable to me, but all too rare.  Moreover, the recent past has not been an easy one for our Organization, and I would have liked to be able to join you to discuss where we have been and where we are going.

    A little over a year ago, a treasured friend and colleague, Sergio Vieira de Mello, together with many other fine servants of the cause of peace, perished in Baghdad, doing the kind of work that each of you does, in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances.  The bombing of 19 August 2003 affected each of us personally and the Organization we serve, as have the divisions in the global community over the past few years.

    However, Sergio would want us to learn from what happened and to get on with the job.  I thank each of you for the fact that you are doing just that, in complex and challenging environments.  Often you and your staff have to lead without the leading mandate, coordinate when no one wants to be coordinated, and respond to unimaginable situations without the necessary resources.  Other times you have to be everywhere and yet be invisible, and give hope even when everybody around you has lost theirs.  And as you work to carry out your tremendously difficult assignments, you must balance the Organization’s mission to help others with the need to protect our staff.

    I know that you have a full agenda these next few days, discussing how to be most effective on the ground.  We are trying very hard to have structures and systems in place to respond to the current demands of the field, often involving support to complex, multi-dimensional operations.  Success of our missions depends to a large extent on integrated, focused and effective responses from you and your staff.  I hope that Headquarters is giving you and your teams the support you need -- and, if it isn’t, that you will say so.  I am looking forward to being briefed on your deliberations, and I will take careful note of any conclusions you reach.

    I take this opportunity to thank UNITAR for preparing a seminar that is both conceptually challenging and, I trust, of real practical use for you in your work.  I also hope that you will be refreshed and re-energized in the beautiful surroundings that have once again been made available by the Swiss Government, which I warmly thank for its generosity.  I also thank the Governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden for their support.  Above all, however, I thank each one of you for the skill and dedication which you bring to the service of the United Nations -- and I convey, through you, the same appreciation to the dedicated staff who support you in your endeavours.

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