As the United Nations marked the sixtieth anniversary of its founding today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said change at the world body has never been so urgent or achievable.
“Never in the history of the United Nations have bold decisions been more necessary,” he said in a message marking the commemoration. “And never have they been more possible.”
Looking towards the 2005 World Summit, slated to open in September in New York, he said the meeting would offer leaders from 191 nations to make those decisions. “With support, and encouragement from you, the peoples of the world, I believe they will,” he said.
“Enhancing the vital role of the United Nations,” was the theme of commemorations of the milestone held in San Francisco, California, where six decades ago the representatives of 50 nations signed the United Nations Charter.
San Francisco hosted a two-day UN60 commemoration through the weekend. Addressing participants, Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, noted that Mr. Annan has presented specific proposals for change in his report “In Larger Freedom.”
Mr. Tharoor explained that the title phrase came from the UN Charter itself and “clearly implied both that development is possible only in conditions of freedom, and that people can only benefit from political freedom when they have at least a fair chance of reaching decent living standards.”
The Under-Secretary-General reviewed some of the report's central recommendations – which range across the spectrum from achieving development goals to tackling terrorism to strengthening human rights protections, and said that, taken together, they do not constitute a wish-list, “but rather a carefully crafted and achievable package of policy commitments and institutional reforms, in which all States should find proposals they will welcome.”
Voicing hope that national leaders gathered in New York in September would adopt the Secretary-General's bold and historic proposals, Mr. Tharoor said if they did, “the rebirth and renewal of the UN will be just beginning, and with its renewal, we will also renew our hope for a fairer and safer world.”