Departing Annan lauds Security Council for efforts to resolve or prevent crises
In his final address to the Council ahead of his retirement on 31 December after 10 years as Secretary-General, Mr. Annan said it had been his privilege to work with its members, “both in success and in failure,” to try to fulfil the UN’s stated duty to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”
Mr. Annan said the Council’s work has strengthened over the past decade, giving the Secretariat more coherent and more robust mandates, following up their decisions with greater vigilance, and more often matching the enhanced mandates with close to the necessary resources.
“While change for the worse is often dramatic, change for the better is generally incremental,” he said. “Many conflicts have been peacefully resolved. Many have been at least brought under control, with hope of better times on the horizon. And I believe – though this is much harder to prove – that many have been prevented.”
Noting the ongoing fragility of the Middle East and the humanitarian suffering in Darfur as two examples of continuing crises, he warned that there was no room for complacency.
“We have all learned, from some bitter experiences, that we cannot afford to take governments’ word for it when they assure us that all is well in their country, or that they have the situation under control.
“We have also learned that the Council needs to be fully briefed on issues of human rights, since gross violations of these not only occur during conflict but are often harbingers of it.”
Later, Council members paid tribute to Mr. Annan by adopting by acclamation a resolution acknowledging his contribution to international peace, security and development.
Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser of Qatar, which holds the rotating Council presidency, then read a statement on behalf of members expressing their appreciation for Mr. Annan.