Press Releases

    SG/SM/9871
    REC/188
    17 May 2005

    “We Must Breach Cycles of Poverty”, Secretary-General Says in Message to ESCAP Session

    NEW YORK, 16 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the sixty-first session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok today, delivered by Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary, ESCAP:

    Profound changes are taking place across the Asia-Pacific region.  A new Asia is emerging, which is contributing to prosperity in the region and throughout the world.  But there are also challenges to confront.  While the region is certainly making good progress on a number of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the gains have been uneven.  Developing countries in the region are showing the highest growth rates in the world, but there are jarring disparities in levels of social and economic development, within and among countries.  Fast growth has also been accompanied by environmental degradation in many areas.  At the same time, in our post-tsunami recovery work, we must do more than replace what was lost in the disaster; we must break cycles of poverty.  That means ensuring that donors disburse the funds needed, and that they are spent effectively, responsibly and in a transparent manner.

    This is a special year for the United Nations.  It not only marks the sixtieth anniversary of our founding at the end of the Second World War.  It is also a year in which we are thinking ahead, and engaging in a constructive debate about the future:  how to defeat poverty; how to build a collective security system able to meet our common threats; and how to increase respect for human dignity in every land. 

    That is why, in March this year, I placed before Member States a report setting out proposals for affordable ways to reach the Millennium Development Goals, far-reaching reforms of the international security system, and concrete action to increase respect for human rights.  I have put forward an agenda that I believe is both bold and achievable.  I hope leaders will come to the summit at the United Nations in September ready to take far-reaching decisions, including on ways to adapt the United Nations itself.

    I look forward to working with all of you in this process of fundamental reform and revitalization.  I send my warmest wishes to the Heads of Government, distinguished representatives, and other eminent leaders who have gathered together on the occasion of the sixty-first session of ESCAP, and wish all of you a successful session.

    * *** *