Press Releases

    SG/SM/9558
    OBV/448
    27 October 2004

    World Is Better Place Because of United Nations, But “We Can Do Better”, Secretary-General Says at UN Day Concert

    NEW YORK, 26 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks delivered on 25 October by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the United Nations Day Concert in New York:

    Happy United Nations Day, everyone!  What better way to celebrate this day than through the universal language of music?

    First of all, let me say a special welcome to the Kuwaiti National Orchestra and the Kuwait Television Band.  I am grateful that they are here to share with us Kuwait’s musical heritage.

    Learning about, and from, one another’s cultures is fundamental to the work and ideals of the United Nations.

    That has never been truer than it is today.  Never has there been a more important time to celebrate our diversity as well as our common humanity.  Never has it been more crucial to heal divisions and promote greater understanding among the peoples of the world.

    Fifty-nine years ago, the United Nations was founded as an instrument of peace, human rights and development.  The world is a better place because of the United Nations.  But too many people today are still victims of violence and oppression, poverty and hunger, illiteracy and disease.

    We can and must do better.  All people deserve to live free from fear and want.  They must have hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

    And we all need an effective United Nations -- one that reflects the world we live in today, and can meet the challenges we will face tomorrow.

    I believe we can build a better United Nations.  That’s why I have appointed a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which will very soon give me its report.

    And that is why, only next year, I will be proposing measures to renew the Organization.  I hope world leaders will respond with vision, courage and goodwill when they meet here next September -- five years after they adopted the Millennium Declaration.

    Friends, on this United Nations Day, let us unite in the hope that we may make this indispensable instrument as effective as it can be, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

    I thank you all for your commitment, and wish you a splendid evening.  Thank you very much.

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