UN summit 'major leap forward' for partnerships in global fight against poverty - Annan
Praising the partnership initiatives introduced by governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the conference marked "a major leap forward" in teaming up the public sector, civil society, businesses and other key actors in the global fight against poverty.
Speaking to the press in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the Summit's final day, the Secretary-General noted that participating governments had agreed on an impressive range of concrete commitments, particularly in the five priority areas of water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity that he had identified for action.
The Summit "will put us on a path that reduces poverty while protecting the environment, a path that works for all peoples, rich and poor, today and tomorrow," Mr. Annan stressed.
While acknowledging that some were disappointed that not everything that was expected to take place in Johannesburg had been achieved, the Secretary-General said he was satisfied with the results. "I think we have to be careful not to expect conferences like this to produce miracles, but we do expect conferences like this to generate political commitment, momentum and energy for the attainment of goals," he said.
Meanwhile, in responding to a question about Iraq, Mr. Annan said he had told the country's Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, yesterday that UN inspectors should go in and that Baghdad should comply with UN resolutions. Other leaders around the world were also asking Iraq to comply, he added.
As for Zimbabwe, the Secretary-General said he had been in touch with President Robert Mugabe and had raised with him press reports that the distribution of food was being politicized. Mr. Mugabe had provided assurances that that was not the case, Mr. Annan said.