Press Releases

20 October 2005

In Message to Mark United Nations Day, Secretary-General Says Organization Must Reflect New Age, Respond to Its Challenges

NEW YORK, 30 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message on United Nations Day, to be observed on 24 October:

Today, as we celebrate 60 years of our United Nations, we must recognize that the world today is very different from that of our founders.

The United Nations must reflect this new age, and respond to its challenges -- including, first and foremost, the knowledge that hundreds of millions of people are left defenceless against hunger, disease and environmental degradation, even though the world has the means to rescue them.

Last month, world leaders met in New York to try and forge a common response to these challenges.

Leaders of both rich and poor countries committed themselves to detailed policies which, if fully implemented, could reduce hunger and poverty by 50 per cent in the next 10 years.

They decided to create new UN bodies for promoting human rights and building lasting peace in war-torn countries.

They promised to fight terrorism in all its forms, and to take collective action, when needed, to save populations from genocide and other heinous crimes.

They decided on important reforms of the UN Secretariat.

But on climate change and Security Council reform, they could make only weak statements.  And on nuclear proliferation and disarmament they could not agree at all.

They have left us a great deal of work to do.  Today, as we mark the sixtieth anniversary of our indispensable institution, I promise you that I will do my part.  And I trust that you, as global citizens, will do yours.

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