Magazine article UN Chronicle

'We Must Make the Most of the Opportunities'

Magazine article UN Chronicle

'We Must Make the Most of the Opportunities'

Article excerpt

The General Assembly asked me five years ago to review progress on the Millennium Declaration, and had decided to meet to discuss it at summit level here in New York in September. But frankly, I do not think a mere review would have done justice to the present world situation. I feel strongly that there are decisions which urgently need to be taken in the areas of development, security and human rights, and changes that need to be made in the structure of the United Nations itself, if we are to make the most of the opportunities in the next ten years and to save millions of people from death and disaster.

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For instance, if Governments take the decisions that I am suggesting in this report, I believe we will have a much better chance of turning the tide against HIV/AIDS and malaria; a much better chance of containing the spread of new infectious diseases, whether natural or man-made; a much better chance of averting an attack by terrorists using nuclear and radiological weapons; a much better chance of preventing countries like Haiti, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone from sliding back into chaos or crisis; a much better chance of reaching a common understanding on how to deal with recalcitrant regimes like that of Saddam Hussein; and a United Nations that is much better able to take effective action--through a strengthened Security Council and a new and authoritative human rights council, both working closely with regional organizations--to put a stop to major crimes against innocent people, such as those we are witnessing in Darfur.

This report [In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security And Human Rights For All] is the programme of action I have been working towards over the past two years. It is aimed at making sure that the commitments made to fight poverty are really carried out in a way that brings results. It is aimed at healing wounds in the international community left by the Iraq war. And it is aimed at restoring the credibility of the United Nations as a leader in the worldwide struggle for human rights. By publishing it now, I am giving world leaders six months to consider and debate it with their peoples, in the hope that they will come here to New York in September ready to take the necessary decisions.

I am encouraged by recent developments [regarding the call for increased development assistance to 0.7 per cent of gross national income]. About five countries in Europe have already met the target, and many other donors have come up with a timetable to meet that target. …

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