Press Releases

    SG/SM/8470
    1 November 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS 2002 POVERTY ERADICATION AWARD RECIPIENTS ‘BRING HOPE TO ALL OF US’, PARTICULARLY EARTH’S MOST VULNERABLE

    NEW YORK, 30 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the Sixth Annual Poverty Eradication Awards Dinner in New York on 30 October:

    It is a pleasure to join you tonight and to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Poverty Eradication Awards.

    Ms. Dotou, Mr. Rama, Mr. Enayetullah, Mr. Sinha, Mr. Sandor and Mr. Kodeih: each of you exemplifies the highest ideals of the United Nations. You have demonstrated a powerful commitment to tens of thousands of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. You have found innovative and sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges they face. And you have overcome a range of daunting obstacles. I am sure that I speak for every member of this audience in saying that your work is truly an inspiration.

    I would also like to recognize an outstanding leader in the private sector for all he has done to combat another threat that affects us all: HIV/AIDS. John Demsey, the Chief Executive Officer of MAC Cosmetics, established the MAC AIDS Fund in 1994 to support men, women and children throughout the world affected by the disease. To date, the Fund has raised $25 million to help curb the spread of the epidemic and to diminish its devastating impact. We are grateful for your generous efforts and salute you as a model of corporate social responsibility.

    In the last year, conferences in Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg have generated some of the high-level political support and financial commitments that are crucial if we are to eradicate extreme poverty, ensure environmental sustainability and meet the other Millennium Development Goals.

    But, as I have told the Member States, the record so far is mixed, with marked differences between regions. There is no magic formula that will determine whether the Millennium Development Goals are met or not. Each country will have to find the right mix of policies that suits its local conditions. But one key factor everywhere will certainly be the ability of governments, civil society organizations, private sector enterprises and others to forge partnerships and alliances for progress.

    More than a billion people in our world live in extreme poverty. While those of us who live in the New York region do not generally see that kind of suffering -- close to home, we have all witnessed a marked slowdown of the world economy -- a downturn that is hard for everyone, but catastrophic for the poor, since it threatens to unravel hard-won gains in development.

    So, let us keep our focus firmly on the targets that the world’s leaders have set. And let us be glad that the human family includes men and women like this year’s winners of the 2002 Poverty Eradication Awards. They bring hope to all of us, but most of all to the earth’s most vulnerable inhabitants. Please, don’t stop this invaluable work.

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