8 September 2006

Submitting Report on Conflict Prevention to General Assembly, Secretary-General Says 'Culture of Prevention' Beginning to Take Hold at United Nations

NEW YORK, 7 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict, delivered today by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown:

I very much regret that I cannot be with you today.  I was looking forward to this occasion, and I am particularly grateful to President Eliasson for organizing today's debate.  As you know, one of my consistent objectives as Secretary-General has been to move the United Nations from a culture of reaction to one of prevention.  This, after all, is what is implied by the very first words that our founders used to express their purpose in founding the Organization -- "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war".

In the first year of my tenure, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, chaired by my dear friend David Hamburg and the late, much lamented Cyrus Vance, inspired us all with its ground-breaking report.  Since then, encouraged by the General Assembly and the Security Council, we, in the Secretariat, have sought to build on the Commission's work.  I submitted my first report on the subject in 2001, an interim one in 2003, and now I am pleased to submit the latest progress report, a main finding of which is that "a culture of prevention is indeed beginning to take hold at the United Nations".  Indeed, in many parts of the world we are working to resolve disputes peacefully; and we are seeking more and more to build a preventive approach into other aspects of our work, notably those concerned with economic and social development.

The Deputy Secretary-General will tell you a bit more about the report in his own words.  But, I hope very much that you will read it for yourselves, and that with your help, my successor will be able to strengthen this vital aspect of the Organization's work.  Meanwhile, I trust you will forgive my absence, since the object of my current mission is, precisely, to prevent further armed conflict in a region of the world which, during the lifetime of the United Nations, has suffered from it more than most.  I look forward to hearing the conclusions of your debate on my return.

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