Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to pay tribute to the late Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan
Friday 21st September 2018
Statement of the Asia-Pacific Group
Delivered by H.E. Rohan Perera
Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN
& Chair of the Asia-Pacific Group
Mr. Secretary General;
Ladles & Gentlemen;
Madam Nane Annan &family;
And other well-wishers;
Sri Lanka has the honour to deliver this statement, as Chair for the month of September 2018, on behalf of the Asla-Paclfic Group of States, and join others to pay tribute to the late Secretary-General His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, and celebrate his life and legacy.
Kofi Annan was a visionary leader who worked tirelessly to make the world a betterand more humane place, and remained a strong advocate for norms, values and principles enshrined In the United Nations Charter.
For many, Kofi Annan embodied the values of the United Nations, an organisation to which he devoted much of his life, first joining the United Nations family as an administrative and budget officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) In Geneva In 1962, and rising up through the system to become the first Secretary-General elected from the ranks of UN staff.
As Secretary-General, Mr. Annan led the charge to revitalize the organisation and bring It Into the new millennium. His first plan for reform - "Renewing the United Nations" presented to Member States In 1997, continues to be pursued with a renewed focus on Improving coherence and coordination.
During Mr. Annan's tenure In office, he brought new people Into the UN to foster a fresh outlook of Ideas. He promoted a UN whose mission It was to promote peace; and actas a beacon oftolerance and solidarity through dark and turbulent times. His work encouraged the world to rethink what the United Nations had become, and push the boundaries as to what it couid become, in order to respond to contemporary challenges.
Mr. Annan's Millennium Report titled ''We the Peoples: The Role ofthe United Nations in the 21^ Century" was a clarion call for us, as member states to commit towards an action pian to address crucial issues such as ending inequality and poverty, safeguarding the environment, and protecting people from conflict. His report provided the basis for the Millennium Declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit, held under his ieadership.
The Summit established a new global partnership amongst states to pursue common, time-bound goals and allowed for the formulation of the MDGs. This served as the bedrock foundation that we continued to build on to form the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
Mr. Annan's "Call to Action" to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic ied to the estabiishment ofa Giobal AIDS and Health Fund. He was also the founder of the Global Compact Initiative, to bring corporate social responsibility to the forefront of business.
The joint awarding of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace to Mr. Annan, and the UNO, was a clear recognition of his immense commitment and contribution to the work of the UN.
Throughout his life, Kofi Annan stood fearlessly as a voice for peace, human rights and dignity and articulated at best- a conscience of humanity in often difficult times. Many have paid tribute to his professionaiism and for his humility, warmth and wit. There are those of us who have been privileged to have worked with him, in the UN famiiy, or come across him during interactions and discussions. We will remember his towering presence, wisdom and his soft spoken style of looking for soiutions through diplomacy and dialogue; and recall the dignified and purposefui way he worked towards shaping a better world for all.
Our thoughts and wishes are with his wife Madam Nane Annan and family and all those around the world that have been touched by his charisma, tireless work and compassion.
Wednesday this week, marked the twelfth anniversary of Mr. Annan's farewell statement to the General Assembly. In his statement he expressed his gratitude to have served as Secretary-General during a "remarkable decade" and stated, I quote:
"Together we have pushed some big rocks to the top ofthe mountain, even if oOters have siipped from our grasp and roiied bade. But this mountain with its bracing winds and giobai viewsis the bestpiece on earth to be,"
Today, we honour his efforts and his unwavering beliefin the United Nations to help forge solutions for many of our common problems. In paying tribute to Mr. Annan, let us remain steadfast in our giobai efforts to work together and face challenges together.
Mr. Kofi Annan was a peacemaker whose legacy remains. May his memory and the ideals he stood for continue to inspire people around the world, so we may all work together towards a more just, humane and peaceful world for all.