UN Multifaith Event 2005

Kofi Annan's Speech

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New York, 13 September 2005

Let me express my sincere gratitude, as ever, to St. Bartholomew's and the Interfaith Center of New York for organizing this service. By bringing together people of different faiths for this occasion every year, you provide an invaluable source of support for the United Nations community. You help to reinforce our sense of collective mission and common purpose.

That is especially important in the week that lies ahead of us — not just for the United Nations, but for the entire global community.

The 2005 World Summit, opening the day after tomorrow, is an opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges of our era. It will be a test of our ability to act on the understanding that development, security and human rights are not only ends in themselves — they reinforce each other; they depend on each other; that, in our interconnected world, the human family cannot enjoy security without development, cannot enjoy development without security, and can enjoy neither without respect for human rights; and that, to promote progress in all three, we also need to strengthen the United Nations — the indispensable common house of the human family.

As we approach the summit, we are mindful that concluding negotiations of this kind is always a challenge. But whatever is achieved or not in the next few days, let us not imagine that it represents the end of the process. Rather, it is a beginning. We must then work to implement what has been agreed, keep working for agreement on what has not, and keep the momentum going on both.

So as all the world's Governments prepare to meet this week, I hope you will pray that they will find the wisdom to guide the human family towards a better, safer, healthier future; and that whatever challenges confront our United Nations, we may make this indispensable instrument as effective as it can be, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

Kofi A. Annan

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