On UN Day, Annan urges focus on reaching Millennium Development Goals

On UN Day, Annan urges focus on reaching Millennium Development Goals

Happy UN Day message in New York's Times Square
Commemorating the 57th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the world's peoples to do their part in helping achieve the targets set at the UN Millennium Summit two years ago to fight global ills.

In a message marking United Nations Day, the Secretary-General said those pledges, known as the Millennium Development Goals, were based on fundamental human needs - from reducing poverty, to halting the spread of AIDS, to providing access to safe drinking water - and were meant to be reached by 2015.

"Sad to say, we are not on track," Mr. Annan said. "If we don't do better in the next 12 years than in the last 10, we shall miss most of those Goals. Every country needs to make greater efforts. And that will only happen if you, the people of each country, insist that what needs to be done, is done."

Noting that "never has the human family needed the United Nations more than it does today," the Secretary-General stressed that there are so few things that any nation can control, relying purely on its own resources, and so many more that the world's peoples can achieve if working together.

"So let us cherish our United Nations," he said. "And let us give every human being a stake in its success."

For his part, the President of the UN General Assembly, Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, underscored that although the United Nations has many important achievements to its credit, the ultimate test of its credibility "is based not only on its ability to articulate political goals but also on its ability to mobilize the will for their implementation."

The UN's focus on crucial development issues materialized with the Millennium Declaration, he said, followed by recent international conferences dealing with financing for development as well as strengthening the link between environmental conservation and sustainable economic growth.

"The relevance of the United Nations is confirmed more than ever in these times, when there are so many global problems challenging our world," he said. "On this day, we can take pride and satisfaction that every country, and therefore, every citizen, is a stakeholder in this enterprise."

Speaking at a ceremony outside UN Headquarters in New York to mark the Day, the Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, said that the United Nations was founded on the principle that all human beings have equal worth. "It is the nearest thing we have to a representative institution that can address the interests of all states, and all peoples," she said. "Through this universal, indispensable instrument, countries can together work for peace and human progress, improving the living conditions of people around the world."

Other planned activities include a concert of traditional music performed by the Korean Broadcasting System's orchestra at the Organization's Headquarters in New York Thursday evening. Meanwhile, UN Information Centres around the world organized their own commemorations of the day in 1945 that the UN Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.