[OPE-L] Kofi Annan talks about what he's learned from his UN experience

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Dec 11 2006 - 12:59:58 EST

What I've Learned

By Kofi A. Annan
Monday, December 11, 2006; Washington Post, Page A19

(...) Now I want to pass on five lessons I have learned during 10 years as
secretary general of the United Nations that I believe the community of
nations needs to learn as it confronts the challenges of the 21st century.
First, in today's world we are all responsible for each other's security.
(...) Second, we are also responsible for each other's welfare. Without a
measure of solidarity, no society can be truly stable. It is not realistic
to think that some people can go on deriving great benefits from
globalization while billions of others are left in, or thrown into, abject
poverty. We have to give all our fellow human beings at least a chance to
share in our prosperity. Third, both security and prosperity depend on
respect for human rights and the rule of law. (...) My fourth lesson,
therefore, is that governments must be accountable for their actions, in the
international as well as the domestic arena. (...) How can states hold each
other to account? Only through multilateral institutions. So my final lesson
is that those institutions must be organized in a fair and democratic way,
giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and
the strong.

Complete text:

It's rather modest, diplomatic and general stuff - let's hope he writes a
fairly frank autobiography, so that we may learn more about what it is like
to have one of the world's most difficult jobs... Possibly though, that's
hoping for too much. How frank could he really be?


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