Annan Urges European-US Work for Global Collective Security
New York -- (UNNC)
February 13, 2005 -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on officials gathered at a
leading international forum in Germany to support efforts to strengthen the
United Nations so that its system of collective security can better respond to
changing conditions in the world.
"I have come here today to call on Europe and America to think ahead, and
to help plant the seeds of long term global collective security," the
Secretary-General told the forty-first Munich Conference on Security Policy.
He previewed a report that will be presented to UN members in March
outlining "the most far-reaching reform of the international security system
since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945."
That report will draw heavily on the recommendations of the High-Level
Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which cover a wide spectrum of global
Mr. Annan offered several vivid examples of the interdependence of today's
world, including the global economic impact of a terrorist attack in a major
city and the potentially rapid spread of a new deadly disease.
"In strengthening the security of others, we protect the security of our
own," he declared.
The Secretary-General urged preventive action against major threats,
stressing the need to galvanize countries in the fight against terrorism.
Toward that end, he pledged to outline next month in Madrid -- the city struck
last March by a devastating terrorist attack -- a strategy to fight the
At the same time, Mr. Annan acknowledged that prevention may fail, and in
such cases "we may have to consider the use of force." He especially cited the
imperative of Security Council action to protect citizens from genocide or
other mass atrocities.
He also addressed the case of Darfur, Sudan. Last month, a UN Commission of
Inquiry last month found that the civilian population there has been
brutalized by war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. The Security
Council is nnow considering how to ensure that those responsible are held to
account for their crimes, while a badly under-resourced African Union has been
taking the lead in deploying peacekeepers.
"Additional measures are urgently required," the Secretary-General said. "Those
organizations with real capacity -- and NATO as well as the European Union are
well represented in this room -- must give serious consideration to what, in
practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy."
He conceded that peace-building efforts succeed only one time out of two. "Half
of the civil wars that appear to have been resolved by peace agreements
tragically slide back into conflict within five years," he observed.
The UN is stretched thin, with more than 75,000 personnel deployed in 18
peace operations on four continents, while a 19th operation is planned for
Sudan. "For the foreseeable future, the global demand will outstrip the
capacity of the UN to respond -- particularly when only one in five of our
uniformed personnel comes from developed countries," he warned.
Ultimately, he said, collective security will flourish in a world of
peaceful and capable States, able to exercise their sovereignty responsibly,
and to deal with internal stresses before they erupt in conflict, harming
their own citizens and threatening others.
"We cannot build a safer world unless we take democratization, development
and human rights seriously," he said. "The United Nations advances these
causes every day."