4 December 2003
CITIES CAN BE VEHICLES FOR PEACE, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL
NEW YORK, 3 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks delivered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a meeting with the City Council and Mayor of Los Angeles today:
I am delighted and honoured to be among you today. Above all, I am heartened that you have adopted this resolution in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
The adoption of the MDGs, as we call them, was a seminal event in the history of the United Nations. These eight commitments, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education -- all by the target date of 2015 -- form a blueprint agreed by all the world’s countries.
They represent a set of simple but powerful, powerful objectives that every man and woman in the street, from Los Angeles to Lagos, from Lima to Lahore, can easily support and understand.
Why are the Millennium Development Goals different from other bold pledges that became broken promises over the past 50 years? There are three reasons. Three reasons why they are important.
First, the Millennium Development Goals are people-centred, time-bound and measurable.
Second, the Millennium Development Goals have unprecedented political support. All the world’s leaders gathered in New York in 2000 and signed onto the Declaration.
Third -- and most important -- the Millennium Development Goals are achievable.
These goals are not just wishful thinking. They are certainly challenging, but they are also technically feasible.
But there is little time left until the target date of 2015. We must redouble our efforts. Good, democratic governance and sound development strategies are paramount.
Equally vital is a true partnership engaging developed and developing countries alike. Indeed, forging a global partnership for development forms one of the Goals in itself -– Goal number eight of the Millennium Development Goals will be forming a global partnership. Achieving it will be crucial to achieving all the other goals that we have set for ourselves.
As City Council members, you have an important role to play. You and your fellow city councillors around the world collectively represent more than half of mankind. Today, more than 3 billion people live in cities.
While today’s major challenges are global, the impact is often felt most directly at the local level. Cities like yours can be vehicles for peace in the broadest sense of the word.
Cities demonstrate that what draws human beings together is far more important than what separates them. They are microcosms of the world -- and remind us that we are also citizens of the world. They are the future of the world -- as we can see from the presence of so many young people in this hall today. I usually call them the leaders of the twenty-first century. I am sure there are many in this hall who will be mayors or aiming to be Secretary-General.
Los Angeles, of course, is a city in a class by itself -- bigger, more diverse and more influential than many Member States of the United Nations. What happens in Los Angeles attracts the attention of the whole world.
For all those reasons, the resolution you adopted yesterday is profoundly significant. It reflects an understanding that the work for a healthier, more equitable world begins with every one of us -- in developed and developing countries alike.
So let’s work together to make the Millennium Development Goals come true. I am grateful to every one of you for your commitment, and hope that many others will follow your example.
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