22 February 2006

Current "Times of Change" Will Result in more Effective United Nations, Says Secretary-General in Message to Economic Commission for Europe Session

NEW YORK, 21 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the sixty-first session of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva, in Geneva, 21 to 23 February:

I am pleased to address the Economic Commission for Europe at a time of reform and transition.  Yours is an organization that has traditionally been proactive in terms of moving with the dynamics of change.  From the fall of the Berlin Wall through the processes of economic integration of the 1990s, you, as Member States, have adapted the Commission to the new realities and challenges in the region.

Today, confronted with a changing European architecture, you are adapting yet again.  I know Member States and the Secretariat will join forces to work for effective implementation of this round, building on the strong partnership between membership and Secretariat that has served the ECE it so well in the past.

Your reform effort rightly emphasizes the implementation of outcomes of United Nations Conferences and Summits through system-wide coherence.  That coherence is particularly essential to the implementation of the World Summit Outcome Document.  The way the United Nations as a whole changes -- from Economic and Social Council reform to the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission -- will have a direct impact on the work of the ECE.  It was in that spirit I recently formed a new high-level panel to explore how the United Nations system can work more coherently and effectively across the world in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.

These are times of change for all of us, but I am convinced that the result will be a more effective United Nations.  I thank you all for your commitment, and wish you a most productive session.

* *** *