|For information only - not an official document.|
|Press Release No: UNIS/DSG/43|
|Release Date: 28 August 2000|
|Transcript of Press Conference by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette At Headquarters, 24 August|
Spokesman: Good morning everyone. We have a full house here for this preview of the Millennium Summit. The Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, will give you a short presentation. At the end of her remarks, the reason for this screen up here is that we want to preview for you a 90-second spot produced by Young & Rubicam for the United Nations, as a way of explaining to New Yorkers why the inconvenience they are going to suffer during the Millennium Summit is really worth it in terms of the global goals of this Organization. So first, Louise Fréchette, the Deputy Secretary-General.
The Deputy Secretary-General: As you know by now, the next few weeks will be exceptionally busy at the United Nations, and we thought it would be useful to give you a sort of complete picture of what will be happening in this building over the next two weeks. I am accompanied this morning by Miles Stoby and John Ruggie, two Assistant Secretaries-General whom you know, who have been very deeply involved in the preparations for the Summit and who will be available to answer your questions if necessary.
Let me start with the Summit itself. It will take place from 6 to 8 September. The origins of the Summit can be found in the report of the Secretary-General on the reform of the Organization, which he issued in 1997, and which the Member States endorsed in a decision, I think, in the course of the fall of 1998. The reason the Secretary-General proposed to the Member States that they hold such a Summit for the year 2000 is not for reasons of celebration or commemoration. In fact, the Summit is very much a working Summit, and it should not be assumed that it will be like the fiftieth anniversary. In fact, there is no gala event, there is no commemoration. The only nod, I think, to tradition will be the family photo, so to speak. But otherwise it is very much a working Summit. The reason for the Secretary-General proposing this Summit, and I think the reason for the Member States deciding to hold the Summit, is the fact that we are going through a truly dramatic change in world relations, and there is a feeling that it is really very important for direction to be given at the highest level to this Organization, which is going through this transformation to be adapted to the needs of the new era, if I may say that.
First of all, I am sure that you all want to know how many heads [of State] are expected to attend – at the present time we expect more than 150 heads of State or Government to attend. However, we cannot give you a final number, because until the last minute there will be changes. But it is likely to be indeed the largest gathering of heads of State or Government ever.
The Summit will consist of a plenary, where heads of State or Government and other heads of delegation will make statements that I think will be limited to five minutes each, as well as, concurrently, round-table discussions. Starting on the Wednesday afternoon, we will have four sessions of round tables, and the heads will choose which of the four they wish to attend. This is a first; it has never been done before. It is designed to allow for more informal and open discussion among leaders. I think it is important, because we will get out of these informal discussions, as well as from the statements in plenary meetings, a really good sense of what is on the leaders’ minds, what is important to them.
The formal outcome of the Summit is likely to be a declaration; Member States are working on that declaration at the moment, and I will leave it to the office of the President of the General Assembly to keep you informed about progress. But it is expected that there will be some form of declaration based, I think, to a large extent on the proposals made by the Secretary-General in the report that he issued last April, particularly in the final chapter of that report, which offered some suggestions for the outcome of the Summit. There will also be Chairmen’s summaries of the round-table discussions, and I believe it is also the intention of the Chairmen to brief the press after each of the round tables.
During the Summit, there will also be a Security Council summit; they will meet for two hours, I think, on the Thursday. They have decided to meet to discuss the maintenance of peace and security, particularly in Africa, and it is expected that they will pay particular attention to the report that was released yesterday on peace operations. Indeed, it is to be expected, I think, that that report will also be mentioned by many leaders in their addresses to the General Assembly.
The Security Council summit is likely to lead to the adoption of a concluding document of some kind, but, again, I would refer you to the President of the Council for more information about their own preparations for that Council meeting.
In addition, the Bureau of the Economic and Social Council has decided to have a breakfast, to which they have invited the Secretary-General. I gather that their interest there is to talk about information technology for development, in the same vein as you saw during the Economic and Social Council session in early July.
And I gather that there may also be a summit of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Of course, apart from these meetings, there will be many other activities happening on the sidelines of the Summit. I would draw your attention to the invitation that the Secretary-General made to all Member States to take advantage of their presence in New York to sign or ratify conventions and treaties. We have indications that between 65 and 70 countries will actually be signing one or more legal instruments while they are in New York for the Summit. There will be a special space reserved for these ceremonies.
There will, of course, be a large number of bilateral meetings. For those who are interested in statistics, you should know that during the fiftieth anniversary there were 703 bilateral meetings held. We are pretty sure that that number will be matched, if not exceeded. Indeed, this has required that we set up little cubicles to allow leaders to meet in such bilateral sessions.
There will also be a forum on girls’ education, organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the initiative of Mrs. Annan, to which the spouses of leaders will be invited.
That covers the Summit, and the events taking place at the time of the Summit. The week preceding the Summit will also see a number of activities, and I would like to flag a few. First is a meeting of the Dialogue among Civilizations, a meeting convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the initiative of President Khatami of Iran. It is in application of a General Assembly resolution last year on this whole question of dialogue among civilizations. It will be attended by a number of heads of State or Government.
There will also be the annual Department of Public Information non-governmental organization conference, which will feature a number of speakers. I am sure the Press Office will provide you with more details as to participants and speakers. I would mention, for instance, that President Bouteflika of Algeria will be addressing that particular gathering.
Then there are some events that are not organized by the United Nations but that will be taking place in whole or in part in the United Nations. The first one is the meeting of presiding officers of national parliaments. Again, I think this is a first in history; I do not think there ever was a meeting of that nature before. It is a meeting organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). On the margins of that gathering there will be a meeting of women speakers of parliaments – you should know that there are 24 of them. I am sure that a few years ago we could not have mentioned so impressive a number – in relative terms: it could be more impressive.
And there will of course also be this summit of religious and spiritual leaders, which has been organized by an independent group of people active in the inter-faith non-governmental organization community. It will be attended by more than 1,000 spiritual leaders from around the world, representing 75 different faiths.
The Secretary-General has been invited to address all of these gatherings, and he will do so.
As you can well imagine, holding a summit involving that large a number of leaders creates a real challenge for the people who have not only to organize it but also to provide adequate security. Those of you who have been around in the past when large numbers of heads of State have assembled in this building know that it means some considerable disruption to traffic around the United Nations building. Let me thank in advance the good people of New York, our neighbours in New York, for their patience. We know their patience will be tried in the course of the Summit week, but we would like to invite them to be patient and to reassure them that this is really for a good cause.
It is indeed in that context that we have developed, with the very kind and generous support of Young & Rubicam, a campaign to try to explain to the people of New York what is the purpose, what are the themes that will be discussed at the Summit, and the kinds of goals that we will be pursuing at the Summit. I would like to thank very sincerely the President and Chief Creative Officer of Young & Rubicam New York, Mr. Jim Ferguson, who is here with us this morning. He will be available to answer your questions, and you can see the posters on the wall. You will find them, I think, in subways and at bus stops. They are an attempt to explain to the people of New York what will be happening at the Summit.
I should also mention finally that we are also receiving some corporate support to have state-of-the-art technology in use during the Summit. I would like to thank in particular NHK [Japanese Broadcasting Corporation], which with the encouragement of the Japanese Government will be providing large screens and high-resolution television during the Summit. I want to thank also the Kodak Corporation for their help with the official photography.
So, that is a long list of activities. I will be happy to answer questions, as much as I can. But I think before we turn to the question period we will have a little show-and-tell with our partially state-of-the-art technology.
(A videotape was played.)
The Deputy Secretary-General: That was the voice of Mr. Harry Belafonte.
Spokesman: Let’s take questions now.
Question: I have just watched the film, and have seen the signs here. Do you think that the United Nations is getting beyond the human misery, that you are not giving any hopeful message to the world, to New Yorkers? Five years from now, 10 or 15 years from now, there will be poverty relief – but nothing for the year 2000?
The Deputy Secretary-General: Well, first of all, I think that New Yorkers will agree with me that we live in this city, in North America – I am a North American myself – in relative prosperity. But I think New Yorkers care about people who are less well off, and I think that the purpose of this campaign is to show that this meeting of leaders is designed to deal with these problems, to address their problems, and is designed to generate a strong political commitment to reaching these goals by the time-frames, which are realistic but ambitious time-frames. None of these problems can be solved with a magic wand in the year 2000 on 6 September. But it does make a difference if leaders from all countries of the world get together and say, “These are priorities, and we are determined to do whatever is necessary to reach these goals.” So I think this is relevant to 2000, as well as to the target dates that we are explaining in these posters.
Question: Are all Member States willing to cooperate fully with this programme?
The Deputy Secretary-General: Well, many of these targets were developed by the Member States themselves through various conferences. But in many cases they have been endorsed by Ministers of Health or Ministers of Education. What the Summit will do is elevate the level of commitment to make it a commitment by the leaders themselves. This, I think, makes a big difference. In fact, if one goes back a few years, my sense is that we are seeing an increasing level of concern and interest in many parts of the world in dealing with these problems. I think this has come about because of the revolution in information, and the fact that globalization has brought home to all of us both the benefits and the risks. We talk a lot more now, I think, about really trying to resolve, or to reduce, poverty; really trying to do something on disarmament. What is important is that these issues should be on the political agenda of all countries, and a summit can help to do that, very much.
Question: Concerning the round-table discussion, is it going to be closed or open to the media? The second part of my question is what can we, as the media, do in order to get out the words that have not really been spoken by the people of the world through the heads of State and heads of Governments?
The Deputy Secretary-General: First, on the round-table discussions, the Member States have decided that the discussions should be closed in order to facilitate a very informal discussion. The whole point is to make possible an informal discussion among leaders -- but they have indicated that they would want to report to the press at the end of each round table on the general nature of the discussion. The plenary, of course, is going to be covered in full.
Secondly, on how you can help to make the voice of people heard, the Summit is taking place in two weeks. It seems to me it is a great time for the media to start building interest in the event and building interest in the issue and turning to the people, making use of your own medium to make these voices heard. By definition, the Summit is a gathering of heads of State and heads of Government, and even the physical limitation of this building means that you will have Governments acting. But it would be very useful, and I think very desirable, if all of your media were to use the time between now and the Summit precisely to make the voice of people heard. Let me add that in the preparation for the Summit we in the Secretariat, and with the Member States, made an effort to actually reach out to the people through non-governmental organization gatherings -- we had regional hearings in all five regions of the world, there was a non-governmental organization forum -- in an attempt to make sure that the preoccupation of the peoples of the world could be expressed through this preparatory process.
Question: You spoke earlier, when you started the press conference, about a dramatic change in world relations. Can you be a little more specific on how that is different than, for example, the fiftieth anniversary? What is different now? And also, I just wanted to know about the advertising campaign. This is the first time that you have made a commercial for the United Nations. What was the cost of the advertising campaign?
The Deputy Secretary-General: First of all, I think the fiftieth anniversary was a commemoration. It was an anniversary, it was a celebration, it did not originate from any other reason than that, that it was the fiftieth. So this Summit, in itself, is different because its origins are different.
Secondly, even the time between the report of the Secretary-General in 1997, when he made that proposal to hold the Summit, and today -- we all know how much has changed. The pace of technological change is just mind-boggling. On the information technology side, the emergence of the Internet as a major instrument that affects not only the business world, but can have an influence on health, can have an influence on education, can have an influence on every aspect of our activity – this is really transforming the world very rapidly. One of the risks is, frankly, that part of the world will be on the bandwagon, will be well positioned to draw all the benefits from this, and that those countries that are less advanced will be left behind and the gap will be even wider. That is a preoccupation that is much more acute now when we see how the world is evolving. That is really different, and I think globalization is the context within which all the leaders will assemble.
On the costs of the advertising, I would defer to the Department of Public Information, but Young & Rubicam did the work pro bono, so I do not know if there were marginal costs in the United Nations. But this is pro bono work that we are recognizing this morning.
Question: These are very bread-and-butter issues that we have here, but among the issues you do not mention are some of the hot-button issues that, at least in the North American setting in which this Millennium Summit is taking place, are crucial to how people feel about the United Nations. For instance, non-proliferation, peacekeeping – I can think of any other dozen issues, as I am sure you can. How are you going to address, in the Millennium Summit and in the advertising surrounding the Summit, the issues that are most controversial here, about the relevance of the United Nations to world security and strategic change?
The Deputy Secretary-General: I think the campaign had to make some choices. There was a limited number of messages that could be transmitted simply through this kind of advertisement, and therefore there are some other issues that, of course, are not picked up in the campaign but will be very central to the discussions at the Summit. If you were present here at the release of the report on peace operations yesterday, you will have noted that the Secretary-General has endorsed the recommendations that have come out of this panel. They are very far-reaching. We expect that there will be a fair amount of discussion among the leaders on that report, and we will see what comes out in their formal decision. For this, you really have to turn to both the President of the Council and the President of the General Assembly to get more information as to what kind of conclusion they want to reach on these issues.
Question: Is this going to be a harder sell now than it was for the fiftieth anniversary? So much has happened since then, Rwanda, issues on conflict resolution...
The Deputy Secretary-General: Certainly on peacekeeping, we went through a period when the number of peacekeepers was going down, when there were fewer missions. What we have seen in the last 18 months is a dramatic increase in the number of missions: Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone. We are talking about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we may be going into Ethiopia and Eritrea. The fact is, as imperfect as the United Nations may be as an instrument, it is still the best and the most appropriate that you have got, and I think what the report that came out yesterday said was that since, inevitably, the demands come back to the United Nations, then it is really very important to make that instrument stronger, to make us better equipped to deal with that. My sense is that it is perhaps a good environment for this message to be received, since there has been total consensus that you had to turn to the United Nations to do East Timor and to do Sierra Leone. Therefore, I think, the logical conclusion that you have to reinforce the United Nations in order to be able to do these missions better should – at least in theory – be easier to promote.
Question: A couple of things about the number of heads of State and heads of Government. What is the previous greatest number? Was it at the fiftieth anniversary? Are there commitments from Russian President Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin to attend?
The Deputy Secretary-General: I think the largest number in history was at the fiftieth anniversary, and I checked the number this morning and I was told there were 128. Is that correct? In fact, the fiftieth had 91 heads of State, eight Vice-Presidents, one Crown Prince – it sounds like Christmas, doesn’t it? – 37 Prime Ministers, so that gives you an idea. I think those falling in the category would be 128, as I was told this morning. So, whatever the exact number for the fiftieth, we are going to exceed that. As I say, until the last minute, there may be changes. Things may happen in a country which require the Head of State to stay back.
As for the participation of individual leaders, I would rather not do that, first of all because I do not have the list before me. As for the Russian President and the Chinese President, I would suggest you phone the two Missions concerned and they will confirm.
Question: Earlier you mentioned the summit of religious leaders. I understand that they had requested an opportunity to participate in the Summit and they were refused. Where does that stand now?
The Deputy Secretary-General: The General Assembly decided that they would give speaking slots to the President of the non-governmental organization forum and to the presiding officer of national parliaments. I was not present when they discussed the other possible ones, so I think you will have to ask the President of the General Assembly. But the decision has been made as to who can address the Summit. And I think it is limited to the President of the non-governmental organization forum and the speaker of parliament.
Spokesman: Okay, we have 10 questioners and eight minutes. We will pick up the pace.
The Deputy Secretary-General: Okay, I get the message.
Question: Can you go over what the topics of the round tables will actually be?
The Deputy Secretary-General: The round tables will not be organized around any specific topic. The general background document is the report of the Secretary-General. He has suggested certain priorities, and it is expected that the round tables will use the report as their starting point.
That being said, we have appointed the Chairmen of the round tables, and the Chairmen are really taking ownership of the round tables. So the four countries – Venezuela, Poland, Singapore and Algeria – are now thinking through how they want to run their round tables and what kinds of questions they want to put to the participants. I would not expect every round table to deal with exactly the same subjects. They will be influenced, to some extent, by the choices that the Chairmen make as to what subjects or questions they want to ask. So we cannot say at the moment that they will talk about x, y or z. I think that, in general terms, they will talk about the challenges of globalization and the ability of the United Nations to maintain peace and security. But within these broad issues, the Chairmen will be very proactive and will orient the discussion. So if you want to know more, I would say to you to go to the Missions of those four countries and ask them how they think their Presidents want to orient the discussions at their round tables.
Question: The question that keeps arising and that I keep getting asked is how a three-day meeting, in which heads of State and Government are going to make five-minute set-piece speeches and sit down together in small groups for a very short of period of time, can actually produce the kind of significant results that the United Nations wants in order to set a new agenda for the twenty-first century? I would like for you to answer that.
I would also like to know what the cost of this meeting is going to be.
The Deputy Secretary-General: If they were coming at it cold and nothing had been done, you could rightly ask what would be accomplished in three days. But the fact is that they are not coming at it cold. The preparations for this Summit go back two years. As I have mentioned, they have not confined themselves to discussions in the General Assembly. Prior to the preparation of the report of the Secretary-General, there were a number of informal meetings where the Member States started to tell us what was on their minds and on the minds of their leaders. We also had informal hearings in the various regions to reach out to civil society. Out of that came a strong sense of what the priorities were. Those were articulated by the Secretary-General in his report. As I said, since then the Member States have been working on a final document, an outcome document. So there has been an awful lot of preparation that will be, in a sense, consecrated by the heads of State.
I will take advantage of your reference to set speeches in the plenary to say that I have had opportunities to sit at the podium on a number of occasions listening to speeches. I have concluded that, in fact, you do get a really good sense of what is on a country’s mind and of what emphasis they are putting on relative priorities when you listen attentively to what issues leaders choose to raise. In the five-minute speech I think you will get an even sharper understanding of what really is on their minds, because they will have to choose what it is they want to raise in those five minutes. So if you are looking for a notion of priorities or agendas for the future, then I think that this speech, combined with the round-table discussion – which is a new feature – then I think we should come out of these three days with a sense of direction. That is really what the Summit should do, give a sense of direction to the Organization from which its work should then flow. It will be important to see some kind of follow-up mechanism, to ensure that the sense of direction that we will get from the leaders translates into real activities, initiatives and adjustments to the work of the Organization.
Spokesman: Seven questions. Less than two minutes.
The Deputy Secretary-General: Cost, Fred [Eckhard] will tell you.
Question: You made a point in your briefing of talking about the importance of corporate partnerships with the Millennium Summit. Certainly the Secretary-General makes a point of it in his report. Can you talk a little bit more, though, about the importance of corporate partnerships for the future of the United Nations?
Secondly, something that might be of concern to everyone here, about media arrangements and how they are going to impact on us and our ability to move around. Will we have a briefing on that?
The Deputy Secretary-General: With your permission, I think the press office will make sure you get briefed thoroughly on arrangements for the media, so I will only address your first question.
I will give you just a general answer because one could spend a long time talking about what the transformations are that are taking place in the United Nations, and what the partnership is that is developing with the private sector. That partnership is taking all kinds of forms. It is taking the form of the Global Compact, where companies make their own commitments to apply in their own corporate behaviour the values and principles that have come out of a number of United Nations legal instruments with regard to child labour or the environmental field. But it also comes out in very practical terms, such as the kind of pro bono work that Young & Rubicam has done for us for the Summit. We are getting an increasing number of offers from the private sector to work with us and with United Nations agencies in very concrete ways to help reach some of these goals.
Why is this? I think it is because the corporate sector is recognizing that in an era of globalization you cannot just worry about your own bottom line. You have to worry about the environment within which you operate, and if the environment within which you operate is chaotic and breeds poverty and instability, then your business will not prosper. There is an increasing recognition that it is a shared responsibility. The Secretary-General’s initiative under the Global Compact has really received an amazing response.
Spokesman: We have gone 45 minutes. Do you want to stretch it out a little longer and take a few more questions?
The Deputy Secretary-General: Sure.
Question: Can we get a list of who is going to be in which round table? Secondly, the Secretary-General’s report gives an awful lot of issues, and if people do every issue they do no issues. Are there five or six that are really going to be stressed in this? Thirdly, the high tech that we are hearing about does not really affect the media, because we are nowhere near where the high tech is going to be. Nobody can take notes looking at television with 100 people speaking in two hours. Are the texts going to be on the Web in real time? If not, will there be runners with paper copies and so forth? I do not want to go into the minutiae, but I have had a lot of experience covering these things, including the fiftieth, and unless you are covering one country, forget it. CNN and Reuters and AP and AFP have a very, very hard time.
The Deputy Secretary-General: I don’t think the Web was an instrument five years ago, was it?
Question: The Web wasn’t an instrument, but –
The Deputy Secretary-General: Well, that is just an example.
Question: The women’s conference put everything on the Web two hours, five hours, two days late. So when you talk about putting things on the Web, it doesn’t help if it isn’t in real time.
The Deputy Secretary-General: With your permission, I will let the people from the Department of Public Information – I see [Public Affairs Division Director] Thérèse [Gastaut] is there – give you a full briefing on these elements.
On the issues, as I say, globalization is the general context. I think it is on everybody’s mind, along with the challenges it represents. As I said, I think there is increasing concern over issues of poverty eradication. I expect HIV/AIDS to be very much on a lot of people’s minds; it is such an enormous challenge for many, many poor countries. And I think the ability of the United Nations to deliver the goods on peacekeeping and on peace missions will also figure prominently.
Question: Quickly then, I see this is all aimed at the New York audience: can you tell us exactly what kind of hardships Manhattanites are going to be going through during this? And parallel to that, what can you tell us about the security arrangements to protect 150 heads of State?
The Deputy Secretary-General: On the security arrangements: inside the building it is our own responsibility, but outside the building it is a New York City responsibility, and the host country’s. So I hope that you will receive the kind of briefing that you need to be able to cover that story. But it really is for the United States Mission and the New York City police to give you the details. But you’ve seen it before; you’ve seen First Avenue closed for extended periods of time, and that sort of thing. You should turn to United States authorities for details on this.
Question: Talking about the inability of the United Nations to deliver the goods, do you think that this massive event is the answer to the problem of the United Nations? We have been having mini-meetings all the time, and the situation of the world, especially the third world, remains the same.
The Deputy Secretary-General: Well, it depends whether you believe that things can be changed or you believe that things cannot be changed. I am among those who think that when you look over time, for instance, on problems of poverty and literacy and the state of health, there have been really important improvements. They did not happen accidentally; they happened because there were deliberate efforts made by national and local authorities to tackle these problems, and there were deliberate, focused efforts by the international community to make things happen. The literacy rate is much better now than it was 30 years ago. So if we have come this far I am sure we can go further with the same kind of commitment.
It is easy to be cynical about these meetings and to say, “Oh, they produce nothing”. But I think if you look back you realize that these gatherings – they are not always successful – but many such gatherings have made a real difference in focusing political energy and raising the political will. And if you don’t set yourself targets you are far less likely to advance than if you do set targets. That is why we think targets are important. And at the end of the day, even if you miss them, it is better to have targets so you know what you are working for and what you are working towards than not to have any.
Question: Concerning the document at the end of the Summit, what will be the significance of it? Will it be implemented?
The Deputy Secretary-General: As I said, the final document is something that the Member States themselves are responsible for. You should ask the President of the General Assembly. But one thing is sure: a document adopted by leaders becomes the blueprint for the United Nations for the coming years. That is why they are coming together; that is why they are working on some form of document. If they agree on one, then that will become the major reference for the years to come. It should influence the work we do in the United Nations in the coming years.
Question: What kind of additional burden will there be for the Secretariat? The Secretariat was planning all along on the plenary and for the round tables. But a Security Council summit; a P-5 [the five permanent members of the Security Council] summit; an Economic and Social Council breakfast: are there enough interpreters and support staff to sustain all this without straining the budget even more?
The Deputy Secretary-General: You are giving me a very nice opportunity to pay tribute to my colleagues, because I have been wondering all along how we could handle something this massive. As you say, it is not only the Summit itself; there are so many other things. But I have come to appreciate the fact that we have a lot of excellent professionals. They know their business. Miles Stoby [coordinator for preparation for the Millennium Assembly] has been the kind of orchestra conductor; he has been meeting with a large group of people in the Secretariat for months on end. They know their business; they know how to do it. And this is the number one priority. So we are going to borrow staff from everywhere for the few days to make sure that we can meet these requirements.
Question: Can you put a figure on how much extra staff you will have to borrow from other –
The Deputy Secretary-General: I would find it difficult. I know that, for the days of the Summit itself – I don’t know, Miles, how many people are we going to – it is very hard to say. But it is for a matter of a few days; this will be the event for a long time to come. So that is the priority. But as you can tell, life goes on with everything else while we are preparing for that. We are going to be ready the next day for the regular session of the General Assembly. In fact, as I say, I have been very impressed. I had a coordination meeting yesterday, and I told them all that I was sleeping quite well.
Question: There was a summit in the month of May, last May, in Havana, where about 130 heads of State from the Group of 77 [developing countries] met. The Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, participated in the opening of that summit. Here’s my first question: they came out with a resolution and a plan of action. The resolution and the plan of action seem to condemn neo-liberal globalization. They are not against globalization, but the actual neo-liberal policy dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. On the other hand, my second question is that the United Nations – it is an open secret – is bankrupt, and one of the reasons is that some very powerful countries have refused to pay their dues.
The Deputy Secretary-General: I think there are many, many questions rolled into one there, and I’m not sure I can help with them. But first of all, what will guide the future work of the United Nations is whatever agreement the leaders can reach. I am sure that the meeting in Havana will have influenced the thinking of developing countries that attended the summit. Indeed, their input into discussions is consistent with the discussions they had in Havana. But at the end of the day, what will rule the United Nations and what will guide us are the pronouncements that the leaders will make here.
One of the key issues is not only whether the international community agrees on the goals that they want to pursue, but whether they want a United Nations that is strong enough and equipped enough to play the role that they want it to play. That involves, of course, ensuring that it has the human resources and the financial resources that it requires. The report that came out yesterday on peace operations made that point very clearly. It is true for the other activities of the United Nations. We hope that the leaders will reaffirm their faith and support for the United Nations and their willingness to support it, so that it can do the job that it is being asked to do.
Spokesman: Thank you very much.
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