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Thursday, 15 September 2005
New York


Your Majesties

Your Excellencies


The opportunity to meet like this is a rare privilege and I very much appreciate

the chance to hear your views and share your experiences. So, I would like to

thank our Co-Chairpersons and Secretary-General very much indeed for bringing

us all together again. It gives me the opportunity to express my people’s deepest

sympathy and condolences to our American hosts, whose people have suffered

so much from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Your Excellencies,

In assessing our progress in Brunei Darussalam towards the Millennium Goals,

one thing has become clearly apparent. The Goals have taken on an even

deeper significance than perhaps we initially realized.

At first they seemed to represent a kind of development checklist. Some set

national aims such as halving extreme poverty, establishing universal primary

education, reducing infant and maternal mortality, reversing the spread of

HIV/AIDS and endemic diseases and setting economic targets.

Others were aimed at universal objectives, promoting gender equality, sustaining

the environment, and developing international partnerships. Looking at them in

this way, our people at first tended to see them as targets that mainly applied to

other countries in the world beyond our shores.

They felt they had, in fact, already reached most of the specific social, economic

and cultural goals. So, the instinctive feeling that the Millennium Goals largely

applied to other countries was perhaps quite understandable.


That, Your Excellencies, was five years ago. Since then, there have been

profound changes. They have led to a far deeper understanding among our

people. This has been prompted by real events. The outside world has imposed

itself on our region in dramatic fashion. Our people have witnessed terrorist

attacks, natural disasters, climate changes, strange new viruses, often

bewildering new technology, and rapid and sometimes equally bewildering

economic change.

All this has shown us that, in today’s reality, the expression “the world beyond

our shores” does not have a great deal of meaning. There may be other

countries beyond our shores. But there is, in fact, just one world which we all


This has brought new realizations. They can be put quite simply that the future

will involve more and more contact with the rest of the world. We will be more

and more affected by what happens outside our borders. And we will be more

and more dependent on that outside world. This means one thing. Future

peace, prosperity and confidence depend not just on ourselves but on the

success of all nations. Hence, we are all partners, no matter what our

backgrounds, cultures, faiths and histories.

In other words, our people have begun to realize that confidence in the future for

one community can only be achieved if all communities feel similar confidence.

For us, this understanding has been the most important result of setting up the

Millennium Goals. We have realized that, unless the goals are reached by

everyone, there is no lasting security. Each failed objective is a root cause of


Your Excellencies,

This places the Millennium Goals in an extra dimension. It reveals them as

crucial not merely for each individual nation and its people, but as central to the

profound political, economic, cultural and social challenges we must all meet

together. Achieving the goals will help consign the twentieth century concept of

first, second and third world countries to history. It will help to develop a single

one twenty-first century world in which we all have shared responsibilities and

shared hopes. In this way, Your Excellencies, our people see the Millennium

goals as a historic United Nations task and we will continue to work with our

fellow members to do whatever we can to ensure that we all reach the targets we

have accepted.

Thank you.