At Asian-African summit, Annan urges support of UN reform, hails landmark Bandung declaration

22 April 2005

Addressing an Asian-African summit in Indonesia as it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Bandung declaration, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged leaders from the two continents “to be as innovative and as visionary as your forebears were” by supporting his agenda for UN reform.

Addressing an Asian-African summit in Indonesia as it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Bandung declaration, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged leaders from the two continents “to be as innovative and as visionary as your forebears were” by supporting his agenda for UN reform.

“The number one priority in my report is an all-out global effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015,” he said, referring to the publication of “In Larger Freedom,” which contains proposals for change at the world body and calls for new commitments by the international community to deal with a broad range of development challenges.

The Goals, which were approved at a UN summit in September 2000, seek to reduce or eliminate many socio-economic ills by 2015.

“Disease, poverty and hunger are the greatest killers of our time. The fight against them must be at the heart and soul of the reform agenda,” Mr. Annan said in an address to the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, held to observe the anniversary of the meeting of representatives of 29 territories in April 1955.

The developing countries would also benefit tremendously from improvements in security and human rights, he noted.

“Your peoples pay the highest price for inaction in the face of massive violations of human rights and for the strains placed on the UN’s peacekeeping, peacebuilding and human rights machinery. They suffer more than any others from the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the scourge of land mines,” the UN Secretary-General said.

He added that they were also too often the victims of terrorism and its aftermath and would pay a bitter price if the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regimes were undermined, “fuelling arms races, while cutting off vital technology transfer.

“The reform proposals are designed to strengthen multilateral action in all these areas,” he said.

To reach agreement now, at a time when creativity and boldness are needed, everyone would want to have their major concerns addressed, but also would have to be prepared to make compromises, knowing that people live in one world with a shared fate, he said.

Noting that the 1955 Bandung conference pledged solidarity in the fight against colonialism and for socio-economic development, Mr. Annan called it “a major turning point in world history.” He said it set out a way, based on peaceful co-existence and the principles of the UN Charter, to overcome Cold War divisions and give the peoples of the developing world voices on the international stage.

“Let us honour Bandung by reviving its great spirit,” he said. “Let us make 2005 a true turning point for the developing world and for the United Nations.”

He thanked Indonesia for its post-tsunami hospitality, “given that just four months ago a terrible natural disaster befell your nation, along with nine others represented here in this hall.”

 

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