Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/SG/2693
        18 October 2000
     Secretary-General, in UN Day Message, Says Peoples of World
    Must Hold Their Leaders to Millennium Pledges
     
     

     NEW YORK, 17 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a “Message to the Peoples of the United Nations” by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to mark United Nations Day, which is observed on 24 October: 

    My dear friends, seven weeks ago your leaders, heads of State and government from all over the world, gathered in New York for the Millennium Summit.  They came together to consider the challenges we all face in the new century, and they set out their aims in a Millennium Declaration.

     They pledged themselves to free their peoples -- from the scourge of war, from abject and dehumanizing poverty, and from the threat of living on a polluted planet with few natural resources left.  They undertook to promote democracy and the rule of law; to protect children and other vulnerable people; and to meet the special needs of Africa.  And they promised to make the United Nations itself more effective, as an instrument for pursuing all those aims.

     These pledges give us cause for hope.  But they will change nothing if they are not followed by action.  Even since the Millennium Summit, renewed bloodshed in the Middle East has reminded us all how dangerous it is to leave political and social grievances unresolved.

    That is why, while I and others have been struggling to pull the Middle East peace process back on track, my colleagues at the United Nations have been hard at work, developing detailed plans with which we can help the world's leaders carry out their commitments.

    But the biggest responsibility falls on the leaders themselves -- and on you, the peoples.  

    National leaders have hard and sometimes unpopular decisions to take.  They need to remember the priorities they set in the Millennium Declaration, when they come to allocate, among competing needs and demands, the resources that you, the peoples, have entrusted to them.  

    They need to remember the pledges they made to each other.  They need to continue working together, and also to work with other partners at home and abroad -- parliaments, local authorities, “think tanks” and universities, voluntary groups and private corporations.

    In short, they need to show leadership, and they need your support -- the support of you, the peoples of the United Nations.  

     The Charter was written in your name, and your leaders spoke for you when they issued the Millennium Declaration.  In the end, only you can ensure that the Declaration is more than fine words.  It is up to you to see the pledges honoured, and so to make the new century better than the old.  

    Working together, we can succeed.  All we need is courage, imagination and perseverance.  Let us pray that we will find them.

    * * * * *