Annan Hails ‘Convergence of Views’ at UN Summit
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan closed the largest summit in the UN's history on Friday by hailing the "remarkable convergence of views" on its ambitious goals to reduce global poverty.
The summit, which had assembled 147 heads of state and government on the first day, adopted the Millennium Declaration, including pledges to fight global warming and AIDS, and to strengthen the United Nations.
The declaration also backed calls for radical reforms to strengthen peacekeeping, which the Council had endorsed on Thursday, when it met for only the second time at head of state and government level.
Speaking after the summit adopted the declaration by acclamation, Annan noted that it promised action by 2015 towards achieving its first priority, the eradication of extreme poverty.
These included halving the proportion of the world's population, which has no access to safe drinking water or lives on less than a dollar a day.
The declaration also resolved to make "a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers" by 2020, and "to make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol" within two years.
The UN's press office said at least 40 treaties were strengthened by a flood of signatures over three days, although none received sufficient ratification to enter force.
Annan said the texts which attracted widest support were "protocols that seek to protect children from abuses that bring shame to mankind."
The 32-point text re-asserted the sovereignty of states but said "the central challenge we face today is to ensure that that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world's people."
He said that during the summit, "speaker after speaker has stressed the urgent need to release poor countries from their burden of debt."
Some had suggested new approaches including a system of arbitration or mediation to "balance the interests of creditors with those of sovereign debtors," he said.
He said he would "give further thought to this idea and suggest ways in which it could be done." – UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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