Press Releases

    SG/SM/9691
    26 January 2005

    In Remarks to Group of 77, Secretary-General Says Year 2005 Offers Opportunity for "Decisive Progress” on Development, Security Agendas

    NEW YORK, 25 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the handover of the chairmanship of the Group of 77 Developing Countries today:

    I congratulate Qatar on the wise leadership it has given to your Group in 2004, and I wish Jamaica all the skill, energy and luck it will need to steer you through the challenges you will face in 2005.

    This year offers us an opportunity to make decisive progress on both the development and the security agendas.  Your Group will have a key role to play in ensuring that the former receives due attention.

    For instance, developing countries have a vital role to play in ensuring that the opportunity to make real progress in the Doha round of trade negotiations is seized.

    You also need, not only to remind donor countries of the commitments they have made to increase their official development assistance, but also to promote urgent consideration of new ideas on how to raise resources for development, such as the International Finance Facility, and the Initiative on Hunger and Poverty sponsored by Brazil, France, Chile and Spain.

    This year can be decisive because, if we don’t take the right steps now, all hope of reaching the goals by 2015 will soon vanish.

    Fortunately, it is now clearer than ever what those steps are, thanks to the report of the Millennium Project, “Investing in Development:  a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals”, which was published last week.  It shows clearly that, with political will on all sides, we have the practical means to ensure that every country achieves the Goals.  I’m delighted that your Group has welcomed the report so warmly.

    Some of the key decisions can be taken in September, when heads of State and government meet to review the world’s progress in implementing the Millennium Declaration.

    This summit will also be called on to meet new threats and challenges in the realm of peace and security.

    For the truth is that prosperity and security are interdependent -- a point made strongly in the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, published last month.

    The summit offers us an historic opportunity to make progress in both directions, and to revitalize the United Nations system, equipping it better to deal with the challenges we face.  In March, I shall propose an agenda, in my own report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.

    Excellencies, we are at a defining moment in the history of the United Nations.  We must seize the occasion to strengthen multilateralism, and to take decisive steps towards the vision of a world free from fear and want, articulated in the Millennium Declaration.

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