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In Vienna, Annan urges UN staff to modernize management

In Vienna, Annan urges UN staff to modernize management

On the final day of his official visit to Austria, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today met with some 3,000 United Nations staff members in Vienna, calling for renewed effort to improve the efficiency of the world body.

"We must put modern management practices in place," he said. "We must enhance our enormous in-house talents and provide more and better opportunities for career development, while bringing in fresh, young people and skills that are the keys to the success of any enterprise."

Mr. Annan paid tribute to all UN staff working in Vienna, saying they could make an important contribution to the UN's goals of ensuring "freedom from fear, freedom from want and protection of the resources of this planet."

The Secretary-General also stressed that the staff of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), which has its headquarters in Vienna, have a "crucial role to play" in helping to rid Afghanistan of illegal narcotics.

"The need to replace opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan with substitute crops and other economic activities is even more pressing today than ever," Mr. Annan stressed. "The ODCCP will have a key role to play in helping Afghanistan to act on [its] intention to wipe out opium poppies forever."

Earlier, Mr. Annan had met with Amre Moussa, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Mr. Annan said that Mr. Moussa had shared impressions from his visit to Iraq, and that they had also spoken about the troubles in the Middle East, the fight against terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.

Among other appointments today, the Secretary-General had an informal meeting with about a dozen ambassadors, to discuss government support for UN programmes on drugs, organized crime, human trafficking, money laundering, nuclear safety and industrial development. Mr. Annan also met with the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Jan Kubic.