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Marking UN Day, Annan says Nobel Prize should inspire greater action

Marking UN Day, Annan says Nobel Prize should inspire greater action

Marking the 56th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him and the UN should inspire increased efforts to achieve the world body's goals.

"UN Day 2001 is a special day for every Member of the United Nations family, and for everyone who believes in the ideals of our Organization," said Mr. Annan in his message marking the occasion. "This year, the United Nations has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for our work in promoting peace, defending human rights, and fighting poverty."

Mr. Annan said that honour should "encourage us to tackle our tasks with even greater determination."

The Secretary-General urged the UN family "to stay true to our mission, and to work harder than ever to alleviate suffering in every part of the world." He pointed out that with old and new challenges confronting humanity, the UN "is more central than ever to creating a better and safer world for all."

The President of the UN General Assembly, Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, pointed out that even as the great majority of human beings aimed to improve the conditions of life on this planet, a small minority was intent on sabotaging - and if possible reversing - progress.

"We saw them in action on 11 September, but let us always remember that their capacity for evil is infinitesimally smaller than humanity's collective capacity for good," he stressed.

As part of the commemorations for UN Day, a concert was planned at the Organization's New York Headquarters featuring the Indian rock band Euphoria and the Pakistani folk rock band, Junoon, as well as a silent performance by French mime Marcel Marceau.

The United Nations also used the occasion to draw the public's attention to the reopening of guided tours at UN Headquarters in New York. Speaking at a ceremony to unveil new uniforms for UN tour guides, the Interim Head of the UN Department of Public Information, Shashi Tharoor, recalled that following the 11 September attacks against the US, the UN had to temporarily close to the public for security reasons.

"The debut of the new uniforms on the occasion of United Nations Day provides us with an opportunity to welcome visitors back to the UN with a fresh new look," he said. The new apparel was designed by Mondrian and Valleverde.