Press Releases

    14 June 2006

    Sustain Progress while Addressing Remaining Backlog of Need, Secretary-General Says in Message to St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

    Citing Uneven Distribution of Gains, He Underscores Need for Cooperation to Achieve Shared Goals

    NEW YORK, 13 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the tenth St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, in St. Petersburg today, 13 June:

    I am delighted to convey my warmest wishes to all participants in this tenth St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and to send my greetings to the city and people of St. Petersburg.

    Your gathering is a timely opportunity to take an in-depth look at economic progress in Russia, and to review the general development trends of Brazil, China, India and Russia.  By bringing together high-level policy makers, industrialists, bankers and representatives from various international organizations and financial institutions, your Forum can draw attention to the current challenges of globalization for your economies, and serve as a catalyst for mutually beneficial economic relations among the world's emerging economic powers.

    The remarkable economic growth of Brazil, China, India and Russia has brought prosperity to many, and lifted millions more out of extreme poverty.  Yet tremendous challenges remain.  Economic gains have been unevenly distributed, and the ranks of the poor are still large.  Our challenge is to sustain the progress that has been achieved while addressing the remaining backlog of need.  For this, further reforms -- economic, political, legal, judicial and regulatory -- are essential.  We must clarify and institutionalize the rules underpinning investment and development, while increasing investments in health, education, training and research.

    This ambitious agenda demands the active participation of both the public and the private sectors, working together to achieve shared goals.  Fortunately, the trend in this regard is promising.  Cooperation between civil society and Governments is on the rise, environmentally sustainable practices are gaining ground, corporate social responsibility enjoys wider acceptance, and public-private partnerships are increasingly being employed to investment in critical sectors such as education and infrastructure.  These developments are important not only to sustain economic growth, but also for the broader objective of defeating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

    The challenge of development and economic growth goes hand-in-hand with the need for greater environmental protection, especially through increased energy efficiency.  Developing countries should not be condemned, by the weight of tradition or their own poverty, to do what their predecessors have done.  We cannot deny their need to industrialize, but this can be done in cleaner ways.  And the developed countries have a responsibility to help by, for instance, building capacity and transferring technology and know-how.

    Your Forum can contribute to dialogue on these important issues. Many of the items on your roster feature prominently on the agenda of next month's G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg.  Thus, your deliberations can also provide a basis for discussion by G-8 leaders when they consider the socio-economic challenges affecting the world.

    As you work to address the economic needs of your countries, the United Nations family will continue to support your efforts.  Together, we can help address the challenges ahead, and realize a better world for all people everywhere.  In that spirit, I wish you a most productive conference.

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