Nations working together can make difference, Annan tells Nobel Prize forums

Nations working together can make difference, Annan tells Nobel Prize forums

Nations working together "can make a difference" in overcoming the challenges facing the world, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to a Nobel Peace Prize forum in the United States.

"The work for peace is far too important to be left only to politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats. It is the work of a partnership that must engage everyone," Mr. Annan said in a statement to the fifteenth Nobel Peace Prize Forum taking place today and tomorrow at Concordia College in Maine.

The message, delivered on his behalf by Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the Secretary-General's High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Countries, was also given to the eighth annual Nobel Peace Prize Festival yesterday at Augsberg College in Minnesota.

The Secretary-General highlighted the challenges confronting the world, including the prospect of war in Iraq, nuclear proliferation in the Korea peninsula and the conflict in the Middle East and Côte d'Ivoire. He also pointed to the worldwide AIDS crisis and the food shortages in southern Africa and the Horn of Africa, saying as many as 30 million are at risk of a food crisis.

Throughout it all, the Secretary-General said he remained hopeful. "I am still an optimist," he said. "We should not see this as an age of threats, but as one that a time that offers many new and exciting opportunities. And the world has instruments that are well-placed to deal with these problems, and foremost amongst them is the United Nations itself."