Address at the UN General Assembly,
New York, 12 September 2002
President of the General Assembly, Mr Jan Kavan,
Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Kofi Annan,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to add my voice in thanking the outgoing
President of the General Assembly, Dr Han Seung-Soo
for the diligent manner in which he managed the affairs
of this Assembly. I would also like to congratulate
you, President Kavan, for taking over the leadership
of the 57th Session of the UN General Assembly. We hope
that you will have a successful tenure in your stewardship
of this important body.
Allow us to also welcome Switzerland and East Timor
to membership of the United Nations.
Two years ago, the world's political leaders met at
this place and through the historic United Nations Millennium
Declaration "reaffirmed our faith in the (United
Nations) Organisation and its Charter as indispensable
foundations of a more peaceful, prosperous and just
That an unprecedented number of Heads of State and
Government had gathered at the United Nations to make
this commitment to cooperation among the peoples of
the world, to peace, prosperity and justice throughout
our universe gave hope to the billions throughout the
world who know the painful meaning of oppression by
another, of war and violent conflict, of poverty and
None of those who spoke from this podium knew that
a year after they had pledged to use their energies
and talents to provide a meaningful life for all, peace
in this country and the rest of the world would be brutally
challenged by the murderous terrorist attack of September
We meet a day after the first anniversary of that fateful
September 11. We have a collective duty to reaffirm
our united resolve to create a world free of the fear
of terrorism. We have a common task to ensure that this
Organisation truly lives up to its obligations to do
all the things that make for peace. We have a solemn
obligation to give real meaning to the message of hope
we proclaimed in the Millennium Declaration. It may
be that future generations will say that if we have
learnt anything at all from the horrendous events of
September 11, it is to the accomplishment of these tasks
that this General Assembly should dedicate its efforts.
In keeping with that perspective, we have come to the
57th General Assembly to report that the peoples of
Africa have risen to these challenges by forming the
African Union. Our Union is based on the principles
enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. It results
from the transformation of the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU), which championed the cause of unity and
independence of Africa, for nearly 40 years.
The African Union (AU) is Africa's practical and determined
response to its past and present, in favour of peace
and stability, democracy and human rights, cooperation,
development, prosperity and human dignity.
Its programme for the socio-economic revitalisation
of our Continent is the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD), which must help us to eradicate
poverty and underdevelopment throughout Africa and,
within the context of the African Union, end Africa's
humiliation as an object of charity.
Clearly, the objectives of the African Union and the
programme enunciated in the New Partnership essentially
and of necessity seek to advance the aims contained
in the Millennium Development Goals.
Naturally, the United Nations as an organisation seized
of the task to address the critical issues of peace,
human rights and poverty eradication within the framework
of sustainable development, will forever be central
to the success of the African Union and the accomplishment
of the goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Accordingly, on behalf of the united peoples of Africa,
we are honoured and privileged to commend to this august
Organisation both the African Union and the New Partnership
for Africa's Development. We are convinced that with
your support, we will transform this into an African
We are happy that there are encouraging peace processes
in Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo
and Sudan, with the Comoros already having held successful
elections. We are particularly pleased because these
positive developments will create the possibility for
millions of our fellow Africans to reaffirm the sanctity
of human life and security, and to engage in the important
tasks of rebuilding their countries to bring about a
better life for all.
As part of our commitment to wage a sustained struggle
to realise the long-deferred hopes of the peoples of
Africa, we have agreed to the establishment of various
institutions, including a peer-review mechanism, which
must help us ensure that we honour our commitments democracy,
human rights and good governance.
I am confident that the United Nations will work closely
with the African Union, and that this premier organisation
of the peoples of the world will use its vast and invaluable
experience to ensure that the African Union delivers
on the important and pressing duty of achieving sustainable
development in each and every country on our continent.
Together, the UN agencies and the organs of the African
Union must give priority to such matters as human resources
development and capacity building, modernising Africa's
economy, dealing decisively with the intolerable debt
burden, ensuring access for our products in the markets
of the developed world, speeding-up the emancipation
and empowerment of women, combating communicable and
other diseases, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis,
and fighting against environmental degradation.
At the end of August and the beginning of this month,
the people of South Africa and Africa were honoured
to host the World Summit for Sustainable Development.
A number of far-reaching decisions were taken at this
important Summit to ensure that we will bequeath to
the next generations a better, humane and equitable
world based on what we agree are the inseparable pillars
of sustainable development - economic development, social
development and environmental protection.
Delegates from around the world enshrined the decisions
they took in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
and Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development,
to ensure that the billions of people who have placed
their fate on our collective shoulders have a concrete
programme of action to realise the goals contained in
Agenda 21 and other documents adopted by the world community
of nations during the last ten years.
The Johannesburg Summit confronted the stark reality
that billions of people across the globe are poor, and,
boldly confirmed the need for us to collaborate for
a shared human prosperity through sustainable development.
We agree that this goal can be achieved because we are
inspired by the knowledge that the resources needed
exist within the global community.
Indeed, Member States have already committed themselves
to make available the means necessary for the implementation
of our plans, especially finance, technology and capacity
building. It is critically important that we implement
everything we agreed, acting with the necessary sense
Again, this we will do together, under the leadership
of the United Nations while we continue to strengthen
the multilateral system of global governance, as the
only viable international response to all our challenges.
Fundamentally, this is the only credible response to
the challenge of globalisation and the need to enhance
human solidarity to meet our common needs.
It has been our privilege to chair the Non-Aligned
Movement for the past four years. During this time,
NAM has ensured constant dialogue between the countries
of the North and South, which has advanced the commonality
of interest between States, confirming the view that
the future of all humanity is interlinked. We are pleased
that the views of the Movement have helped to inform
the advance towards a better life for all to which we
have all committed ourselves by word and deed.
In February next year, Malaysia will assume the responsibility
of guiding our Movement as it responds to the changed
and changing global environment. I am certain that this
will add new strength to the Non-Aligned Movement in
the interests of all humanity, especially the poor of
As before, the Non-Aligned Movement is committed to
the peaceful resolution of all conflicts, including
those pertaining to Palestine and Israel, as well as
Iraq, in keeping with the resolutions of this United
Nations Organisations. These are urgent tasks to which
this Organisation must respond.
In conclusion, we will recall that two years ago in
the Millennium Declaration more than 150 Heads of State
and Government resolved that 'we believe that the central
challenge we face today is to ensure that globalisation
becomes a positive force for all the world's people'.
Through both our global and regional programmes we
can and must ensure that globalisation indeed becomes
a valuable process, which will bring about sustainable
development and prosperity for all.
From this 57th Session of the General Assembly must
issue the unequivocal message that the peoples of the
world are united in their resolve to sustain the message
of hope by advancing the goals of peace, democracy,
prosperity and sustainable development.
I thank you.