3 February 2006

Strong UN, Solidarity among Governments Needed to Fulfil Goals Of Human Rights, Security, Development, Secretary-General Says in Message yo Hammarskjöld Event

NEW YORK, 2 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the final event of the Dag Hammarskjöld Lectures and Conversations Series, delivered today by Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information:

Today we conclude a series that has been a highly appropriate way of marking the sixtieth anniversary year of the United Nations and the centenary of Dag Hammarskjöld's birth.  As the series has reminded us, Dag Hammarskjöld was a visionary in so many ways.  He understood, already in his time, 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 cannot enjoy either without respect for human rights.  And, that to act on that understanding, we need a strong United Nations and true solidarity among Governments and peoples working together to fulfil those goals.

Those principles sum up the fundamental mission the United Nations has been undertaking in its sixtieth anniversary year. It was a mission which Hammarskjöld, too, pursued tirelessly in his time.

Dag Hammarskjöld was also a fervent champion of an independent civil service, "guided solely by the common aims and rules laid down for, and by, the Organization".  Today, we are echoing the spirit behind those words.

The scope and breadth of the UN's work has grown dramatically in recent years, and we need a world-class staff equal to the challenges of our new global era.  Today, we are striving to build -- and retain -- a cadre of international civil servants, who dedicate their careers to serving the United Nations family, and whose skills and experiences evolve over time.  We are asking Member States to empower the Secretary-General to manage the Organization effectively, and then collectively hold him or her accountable for the results.

I am delighted, therefore, that this final event in the Dag Hammarskjöld Lectures and Conversations Series is devoted to the subject of "The International Civil Servant: then and now, theory and practice".  It is highly fitting that it will take the form of a dialogue between General Assembly President Jan Eliasson and Sir Brian Urquhart -- international civil servant par excellence and dean of us all.  This is surely the perfect note on which to conclude a series which I believe has proved a fine inspiration to all of us who call ourselves international civil servants, as we strive to make the United Nations the most effective instrument it can be, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

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