Press Releases

    13 September 2005

    Secretary-General, in Remarks to Annual Holy Family Church Service, Cites Need to Strengthen UN, "The Indispensable Common House of Our Human Family"

    NEW YORK, 12 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at the Holy Family Church in New York, 12 September:

    Let me express my sincere gratitude, as ever, to the Parish of the Holy Family Church for organizing this service.  Coming together here every year is a source of solace and strength for the United Nations community.  It helps to reinforce our sense of collective mission and common purpose.

    That is especially important in the week that lies ahead of us -- not just for the United Nations, but for the entire global community.

    The 2005 World Summit, opening the day after tomorrow, is an opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges of our era.  It will be a test of our ability to act on the understanding that development, security and human rights are not only ends in themselves -- they reinforce each other; they depend on each other; that, in our interconnected world, the human family cannot enjoy security without development, cannot enjoy development without security, and can enjoy neither without respect for human rights; and that, to promote progress in all three, we also need to strengthen the United Nations -- the indispensable common house of our human family.

    As we approach the Summit, we are mindful that concluding negotiations of this kind is always a challenge.  But whatever is achieved or not in the next few days, let us not imagine that it represents the end of the process.  Rather, it is a beginning.  We must then work to implement what has been agreed, keep working for agreement on what has not, and keep the momentum going on both.

    As we prepare to do so, we can draw inspiration from the stained glass window that runs along the wall of this Church.  In that window, we can see words in a language that transcends all boundaries, that goes beyond any document, that can be understood by all nations.  It is the universal language of hope. We can see some of the words of that language -- such as espoir and esperanza -- displayed across a mosaic of colour and light.

    That is the language in which I would want us to pray now.

    As all the world's governments prepare to meet this week, I hope you will pray that they will find the wisdom to guide the human family towards a better, safer, fairer and healthier future; and that whatever challenges confront our United Nations, we may make this indispensable instrument as effective as it can be, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

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