[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
AFRO-NETS> Kofi Anan's vision for the UN
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Kofi Anan's vision for the UN
- From: Claudio Schuftan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 11:28:49 -0400 (EDT)
Kofi Anan's vision for the UN
Annan Sets Ambitious Goals for New Millennium
By Anthony Goodman
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - In a sweeping report prepared as a blue-
print for a millennium U.N. summit, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
set course on Monday for a 21st century born of benevolent globaliza-
tion and human solidarity, with a big boost from the Internet.
The report is studded with proposals for making good on many of the
languishing ideals of the 55-year-old U.N. Charter.
They range from halving the proportion of the world's population ---
currently 22 percent -- existing on less than a dollar a day by the
year 2015, to halting and reversing by then the scourge of AIDS.
U.N. members also are called on to commit themselves to ensuring that
by 2015 all children complete primary schooling and that the gender
gap is eliminated at all levels of education.
The 58-page document, presented to the 188-nation U.N. General Assem-
bly, is intended to form the basis of discussion for what is billed
as the biggest gathering of world leaders at a Millennium U.N. Summit
set for Sept. 6-8.
"We must put people at the center of everything we do. No calling is
more noble, and no responsibility greater, than that of enabling men,
women and children, in cities and in villages around the world, to
make their lives better," Annan wrote.
In the most sweeping redefinition of the world organization's mission
since its founding in 1945, Annan set ambitious goals for a planet
whose population has more than doubled since then -- from fewer than
2.5 billion to 6 billion people.
It is also a world body, he noted, whose work habits are now dictated
by the communications revolution rather than the leisurely sailing
schedules of ocean liners that once brought diplomats to New York.
"The Internet is the fastest growing instrument of communication in
the history of civilization, and it may be the most rapidly dissemi-
nating tool of any kind ever," said Annan, now in the fourth year of
his five-year term.
Series of Initiatives Announced
Among the initiatives he announced were:
-- a volunteer corps called the United Nations Information Technology
Service (UNITeS) to train groups in developing countries how to use
-- a Health InterNetwork to establish 10,000 online sites in hospi-
tals and clinics in developing countries to provide access to the
latest medical information;
-- a disaster response initiative, "First on the Ground," led Erics-
son (LMEb.ST) communications, to provide uninterrupted communications
to areas hit by natural disasters;
-- and a global network to explore new approaches to youth employ-
Despite its promise, globalization has begun to generate a backlash,
Annan said, because its benefits and opportunities appeared highly
concentrated among a relatively small number of countries, and were
spread unevenly within them.
"Thus the central challenge we face today is to ensure that global-
ization becomes a positive force for all the world's people, instead
of leaving billions of them behind in squalor," he said.
Introducing his report to the General Assembly on Monday, Annan
asked: "How can we say that the half of the human race which has yet
to make or receive a telephone call, let alone use a computer, is
taking part in globalization? We cannot without insulting their pov-
Listing global issues under the headings of freedom from want, free-
dom from fear and the freedom of future generations to sustain their
lives on this planet, he said the last was not clearly identified in
the U.N. Charter "because in 1945 our founders could scarcely imagine
that it would ever be threatened."
"If I could sum it up in one sentence, I should say we are plundering
our children's heritage to pay for our present unsustainable prac-
tices," Annan said, calling for the reduction of "greenhouse gases"
responsible for global warming.
Many of his proposals aim at attaining long-standing objectives, in-
cluding free access to markets for goods from poor countries; an ex-
pansion of debt-relief programs for the most heavily burdened; and
cooperation with pharmaceutical companies and others to develop an
affordable vaccine for AIDS.
In the age-old fight against the scourge of war, Annan urged all
countries to sign and honor treaties in the fields of arms control
and international and human rights law.
He specifically referred to the statute of an International Criminal
Court, which too few countries have so far ratified to enable it to
enter into force and about which the United States has strong reser-
Other goals include:
-- strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to conduct peace
operations -- more of which are now being launched;
-- targeting sanctions against delinquent rulers rather than innocent
populations -- an issue that has come to prominence in the case of
-- curbing the illegal traffic in small arms that fuel innumerable
Referring to two principles that the United Nations has yet to harmo-
nize -- and which came to the fore with the Kosovo crisis -- Annan
told the Assembly: "National sovereignty offers vital protection to
small and weak states, but it should not be a shield for crimes
"In extreme cases the clash of these two principles confronts us with
a real dilemma, and the Security Council may have a moral duty to act
on behalf of the international community. But in most cases the in-
ternational community should be able to preserve peace by measures
which do not infringe state sovereignty," he said.
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `email@example.com'.
Mail administrative requests to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `email@example.com'.