9 September 2005

In Message to Helsinki Conference, Secretary-General Calls for Resolve "to Turn the Promise of Collective Solutions into Reality"

NEW YORK, 8 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Helsinki Conference 2005:  "Mobilizing Political Will", delivered today by José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs:

I send my greetings to President Halonen and President Mkapa, and to the many representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society groups and the corporate sector who are participating in the Helsinki process on Globalization and Democracy.  I commend you for launching this initiative two years ago.  And I am particularly pleased that you are meeting at this important moment to mobilize political will on the full range of issues that are crucial to human development, human security and human rights in today's world.

Six months ago, I placed before the Member States of the United Nations my report, "In larger freedom:  towards development, security and human rights for all".  The core message of that report is, I believe, very much the same as your own:  the human family will not enjoy development without security, it will not enjoy security without development, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.  We can meet these challenges only if we tackle them comprehensively, and if we act together.

The proposals that I put before Member States are known to you all.  They were made with one purpose in mind:  to help Member States agree on important changes at next week's Summit.  For many months, they have been working on an outcome document under the able leadership of the President of the General Assembly.  Vital issues are on the table -- on financing for development, comprehensive national development strategies, health and environmental issues; on terrorism and non-proliferation; on post-conflict reconstruction, human rights and reform of the UN itself.  And while divergence of opinion among Member States on some of these issues is real, equally real is the determination of many to try to overcome differences, so that world leaders will be able to endorse a serious package of changes next week.  Such a package must give new life to what was agreed in the Millennium Declaration, and go beyond that, to tackle additional challenges.

Whatever is achieved at the Summit, let us not imagine that these next few days represent the end of a process.  Rather, this is only the beginning of a new phase of effort, in which we work to implement what has been agreed, and to overcome the differences that remain on other issues.  In narrowing the implementation gap, initiatives such as yours have a particularly important role to play by engaging all stakeholders, and agreeing on practical steps to turn words into deeds.  After all, the ultimate value of what will be decided next week -- and what you will decide at your conference -- will be measured by its impact on men and women in need.  It is in their safety and security, in their prosperity and sense of opportunity, that our progress will be most visible, and our setbacks most keenly felt.

As we mark the sixtieth anniversary year of the United Nations, let each of us resolve to do whatever we can to turn the promise of collective solutions into reality, and to work together to build a world that is freer, fairer and safer for all its inhabitants.  I thank you for your important contribution to that goal.

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