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Annan says economic growth alone will not resolve world’s ills, urges broader efforts

Annan says economic growth alone will not resolve world’s ills, urges broader efforts

While the expansion of economies has helped millions of people to raise their standard of living, it will not suffice to tackle global difficulties, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, urging broader efforts to reach international development goals.

“Economic growth, by itself, is not enough to respond to the problems of a world plagued by hunger, pollution and other ills,” Mr. Annan said in a message to the Dubai Strategy Forum. “To move forward, we need not only networks for growth, but also networks for development – balanced development that takes into account the wider social, cultural and political aspects.”

Emphasizing the importance of social progress, he pointed out that healthy and educated individuals “are far more able to contribute to the well-being and advancement of their societies” than those who are disadvantaged.

The Secretary-General recalled that two years ago, world leaders meeting at the UN adopted Millennium Development Goals which establish clear targets for a range of urgent imperatives, such as achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality. “Without more concerted action in these areas – without the full development of a country's human resources – development will not take root, and economic growth will not be sustained,” he warned.

Mr. Annan hailed the meeting’s participants – who gathered from across the region – for coming together “to forge partnerships for progress because you realize that as global interdependence deepens, and as trade and communications stitch the human family more closely together, rising to these and other challenges requires a greater sense of shared responsibility and global citizenship.”

He also cautioned that “efforts to promote regional integration and cohesion should not come at the expense of openness to ideas and influences emanating from other regions.” All people, he added, “need to be confident that human rights will be respected and protected, that the institutions of State are effective and accountable, and that there are mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of differences.”

Stressing the need for united efforts by businesses, civil society groups, academic institutions and international organizations such as the UN, he said, “together, we can defeat the poverty and insecurity that disfigure so many lives” and pledged to work with all concerned in that endeavour.

The Secretary-General’s message was delivered by Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).