CHALLENGE FOR ALL IS TO MANAGE INTERDEPENDENCE IN WAYS THAT ‘BRING PEOPLE IN,
RATHER THAN SHUTTING THEM OUT’, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS
Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the first annual Interdependence Day, Philadelphia, delivered today by Edward Mortimer, Director of Communications:
The Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776 was part of a process, spread over many centuries and many lands, through which the world’s peoples achieved self-government in independent States. That epoch continues into our own day. It was only last year, after all, that the people of Timor-Leste achieved full national sovereignty and joined the United Nations.
Nevertheless, a new era is upon us. In future, the map of the world may not change so much, but the world will be transformed in other ways –- by the forces of globalization, and the growing interdependence of the world’s peoples.
In the era of independence, peoples have achieved and practised self-government within the framework of nation States. That framework is still very important, and will remain so even in the new era of interdependence. But the more interdependent we become, the more decisions have to be taken, not by one nation State alone, but by many, acting together. Unless it is properly managed, this process can entail a “democratic deficit”, as decision-makers are further removed from, and less accountable to, the people whose lives are affected.
So the challenge for all of us is to manage our interdependence in ways that bring people in, rather than shutting them out. Citizens need to think and act globally, so as to influence global decisions. And that means that the United Nations, in order to play its part, must live up to the first words of its Charter, “WE THE PEOPLES”.
I know it is in that spirit that you have gathered today in Philadelphia, to declare your interdependence. I am sorry I cannot be with you in person, but I congratulate you, and wish you every success.
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