19 April 2005

Secretary-General, in Message to Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Urges Members to Play Their Part Towards Meeting Millennium Goals

Citizens Want to See Effective Multilateral Action to Meet Challenges of Our Time, He Tells Their Representatives

NEW YORK, 18 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the ninth session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States-European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Bamako, Mali, delivered today by Glenys Kinnock, Member of the European Parliament, as Co-President:

I send my greetings to all participants in the ninth session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and I warmly welcome the attention that you are giving to the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals are achievable. It is fully within our power to halve global poverty and hunger in the next 10 years. We can also, during the same period, provide universal primary education to all, and stop the spread of deadly diseases such as AIDS. Our world has the resources and the know-how to do this -- if everyone, rich and poor alike, does his or her part.

That is why I have called for specific decisions on development to be made now to implement the bargain struck three years ago, in Monterrey, between developed and developing countries. I have proposed that each developing country adopt and begin to implement, by next year, a comprehensive national strategy bold enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015; and to mobilize all its resources behind that strategy. And I have proposed that all developed countries support these efforts by committing themselves, this year, to complete the Doha round of trade negotiations no later than 2006; and to reach, by 2015, the agreed target of spending 0.7 per cent of their gross national income on official development assistance. We are seeing encouraging signs, particularly from European governments, that major progress on this agenda is possible.

The development agenda is the first item in the set of proposals that I have made to the Member States of the United Nations in my report, “In larger freedom”. The comprehensive strategy I have suggested for effective global action also encompasses concrete action on security and human rights -- since progress in each of these areas depends on, and reinforces, progress in the others.

The United Nations itself must be reformed as well, so that it is a more effective instrument of the common purpose of its Member States. I hope that the proposals I have put forward can help Member States reach agreement on a set of important decisions when they meet to review the implementation of the Millennium Declaration at a Summit in September in New York. But the decisions are in their hands.

You, as parliamentarians from both the developed and the developing world, have a vital part to play if world leaders are to rise to the challenge. Your governments have made development promises. They should be held accountable. Many civil society groups are working to fight poverty and promote human dignity. They need your support. And the citizens you represent want to see effective multilateral action to meet the challenges of our time. Their concerns should be heard. Everyone has a part to play if September’s Summit is to be a success -- and I hope that you will play yours.

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