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    Press Release No:  UNIS/SG/2510
    Release Date:  1 March 2000
     Partnership with Civil Society Necessity in Addressing Global Agenda,
    Says Secretary-General in Wellington, New Zealand Remarks

     NEW YORK, 28 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks prepared for delivery by the Secretary-General to civil society in Wellington, New Zealand, on 23 February:

     It is a real pleasure to meet you all.  It is always a special privilege for me to enter a roomful of people whose goal in life is to make the world a better place.  As we begin the twenty-first century, both civil society and the United Nations can look back on some impressive accomplishments.  But better still, we can look ahead to what we might accomplish together in the future.

     Looking ahead, I see a world of opportunities for stronger ties between us.  I see a United Nations keenly aware that if the global agenda is to be properly addressed, a partnership with civil society is not an option; it is a necessity.  I see a United Nations which recognizes that the NGO revolution -- the new global people-power -- is the best thing that has happened to our Organization in a long time.

     This phenomenon is arguably one of the happier consequences of what we now recognize as the essence of modern life:  globalization.  Like all profound changes, globalization is stirring deep feelings, from confusion and fear to a sense of exciting opportunity and promise.  I believe that all these feelings together underlie the emergence of global citizenship.  It would be wrong to portray globalization as the source of all evils.  The challenge before us is to seek creative and constructive ways of managing globalization, so that it benefits the greatest number of people and nations.  To give globalization a human face.

     Your presence here tells me that you have understood this well.  Most of the issues we will face in the next century are and will be increasingly global.  Solutions can be found only if we address them together -- through a sense of global solidarity.  .Civil society organizations have already given new life and new meaning to the idea of an international community.  The desire to participate in the management of a changing world, and the need to engage in areas where governments are unable or unwilling to act, have driven you to action.

     The development of new communications technologies has enabled you to gather and distribute information in an almost unlimited way.  Even more important, it has allowed you to connect and interact across all frontiers, continents and time zones -- whether you are here in New Zealand as the sun rises, or in another part of the world as the sun sets the previous day.
     Since the Earth Summit in 1992, civil society has made its mark on a series of world conferences on such vital issues as the environment, human rights, population, poverty and the advancement of women.  You have made your concerns heard.  But in recent years, you have done more than that.  You have made your power felt.  In lobbying successfully for the Ottawa Convention banning the use of landmines.  In campaigning for the Statute of the International Criminal Court to ensure justice will be done for the victims of genocide, mass rape and other war crimes.  In persuading governments to provide substantial debt relief to the poorest countries, and to redirect the savings to poverty reduction programmes.

     The new diplomacy is working.  That is why I am so glad to have you as allies of the United Nations.  There is much we can do as partners in the field -- in places where people go hungry, have seen their homes destroyed or have had their basic rights violated.  We can also be strategic partners in policy -- in areas where you can persuade your governments to work through the United Nations.  You can goad them into providing adequate resources for peace operations they have already approved, and into focusing on preventing conflict rather than waiting to react after the event.  You can petition them to fulfil the pledges they made at the great world conferences of the 1990s, and to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court.  In sum, you can encourage them to think globally.

     And you can give us your ideas about the role the United Nations should play in the twenty-first century.  I hope you will come to the Millennium Forum in May full of constructive suggestions on how to approach the world’s most pressing problems, and how to deal with them in a spirit of global solidarity.  I hope you will help us achieve our goal of bringing the United Nations closer to the people.

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