Press Releases

    SG/SM/8421
    8 October 2002

    "ETHICAL BASE OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION MUST BE
    STRENGTHENED", SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS

    NEW YORK, 7 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the founding meeting of the International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium, delivered by Danilo Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Bled, Slovenia on 5 October:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to this founding meeting of the International, Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium.

    The human community faces formidable challenges at the dawn of the twenty-first century. But advances in science and technology, and the potential of human ingenuity in general, give us unprecedented power to meet those challenges. Our task is to pull together all the world’s creative forces in the work to build a better future for all.

    At the Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders resolved to spare no effort to free humanity from the scourge of war, from extreme poverty, and from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably spoilt by human activities. They set specific and achievable goals towards which the entire international community should strive. States have the primary responsibility to translate these commitments into reality. But they cannot do it alone. We need strong and effective multilateral institutions. And we need the involvement and support of all sectors of society, public and private.

    We also need a genuine understanding of our common, universally shared values. The ethical base of international cooperation must be strengthened, and the interface between values and national interests better managed and understood. We must avoid the trap of creating parallel or even competing value systems. The meaning of our common humanity must be clear.

    The creation of the International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium can help in this vital task. You can promote productive dialogue among leading thinkers and actors in the realms of science, politics and ethical philosophy. You can illuminate the nuances of complex issues such as the opportunities and risks of biotechnology, and ways to ensure that all people share the results of scientific progress. And you can help create political will for advancing democracy and protecting human rights. Such efforts will complement and support those of the United Nations. In that spirit of common cause, I wish you all success and I shall follow your work with great interest.

    * *** *