20 May 2005

“Historic Fundamental Progress Is Possible” at September UN Summit, Says Secretary-General in Message to Former Civil Servants Meeting

(Delayed in transmission.)

NEW YORK, 19 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the occasion of the thirty-fifth anniversary and Annual Assembly of the Association of Former International Civil Servants (AFICS), in New York, 18 May:

This Annual Assembly of the Association of Former International Civil Servants not only marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of your Association; it takes place during a special year for the United Nations.  2005 marks the sixtieth anniversary of our founding at the end of the Second World War.  It is also a year in which we are thinking ahead, and engaging in a constructive debate about the future:  how to defeat poverty; how to build a collective security system able to meet our common threats; and how to increase respect for human dignity in every land.

That is why, in March this year, I placed before Member States a report setting out proposals for affordable ways to reach the Millennium Development Goals, far-reaching reforms of the international security system, and concrete action to increase respect for human rights.  I have put forward an agenda that I believe is both bold and achievable -- one that will provide a focus of discussion and debate in the months leading up to a summit meeting at the United Nations in September.  The summit must be a time of decision.  I hope that governments will come to New York ready to take bold steps, including on ways to adapt the United Nations itself.

I believe that historic, fundamental progress is possible.  But it will depend on the will of governments, and on the engagement of groups and individuals such as you.

So I hope I can count on your support.  AFICS has a great deal to contribute, as representatives of the international civil service -- the women and men who, over these 60 years, have helped keep the complex, multifaceted machinery that is the United Nations running every day; who have enabled this indispensable instrument to function as smoothly as possible, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.  In that spirit, I wish you a happy anniversary and successful Annual Assembly.

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