Future of UN could be decided in 2005, says Annan

The 60th UN general assembly, set to be held next year, may determine the "whole future of the United Nations", according to the world body's secretary general.

In unveiling his ideas for holding a high-level review of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, Mr Annan said the proposed summit - from 14 to 16 September 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York – was of "decisive importance" for attaining global targets to reduce poverty.

The 60th assembly will offer "perhaps our only chance to ensure a safer, more just and more prosperous world in the new century, not only for our own sakes but for those of our children and grandchildren," Mr Annan said.

At a similar meeting five years ago, more than 100 heads of state and government adopted the Millennium Declaration, a blueprint for achieving "a more peaceful, prosperous and just world through collective security and a global partnership for development".

What sprang from their statement was the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal education and promote gender equality. They also seek to reduce infant and maternal mortality, fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development - all by 2015.

In his annual updates, the Secretary-General said that progress towards achieving the MDGs has been "uneven at best".

His next report, which he plans to release in March, will also draw on the findings of his High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

Mr Annan said that member states should take an "active and positive interest" in the issues before the 2005 summit.

He also urged countries to engage in the preparations at the highest level, "with an unshakeable determination to reach agreement".

While acknowledging it to be an ambitious agenda, he said it was feasible if member states had the will to do it.

"The weak, the vulnerable and the insecure citizens of this world look to the organization for help and for protection. Let us not disappoint them," he said.


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