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Kofi Annan on the WTO
ON EVE OF WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION MINISTERIAL MEETING, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES LINKAGE OF DEVELOPMENT, HUMAN RIGHTS
2 Nov 1999
Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the High- Level International Round Table on Ensuring Equity in Aid, Trade and Lending: Promoting a Human Rights Approach to Global Governance, delivered at Headquarters today by Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
I am honoured to welcome the participants of this meeting to New York. I also join you in paying tribute to the memory of Dame Nita Barrow, and to her steadfast support for the work of "Rights and Humanity".
It is timely and appropriate that you have gathered just before the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), where a new trade round will be discussed. The outcome of your session will help provide a strong ethical backdrop for the Seattle meeting. It will help steer the focus towards making trade work for the poor, by expansion and sensitivity to the concerns of the weaker partners in the international trade system.
The concept of an ethical and human rights framework for international development cooperation is not new. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights all provide a moral as much as a legal basis. In more recent years, the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development helped put into focus the linkage between development and the enjoyment of all human rights.
The language of rights is empowering, binding and frees us from a "donor- recipient" mindset. It calls for action. It calls for promoting development as a way to realize human rights.
The global conferences and summits of the 1990s stressed that the goals of development must be defined in terms of the inherent dignity of every human being; that development is a long-term process from which all must benefit, and in which all -- women and men alike -- must have their say.
In our interdependent world, we must be guided by a global ethic based on shared values and solidarity. Poverty eradication, growth and full employment all depend on interaction between nations through trade, aid and lending. The United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and other institutions are re- examining their work accordingly. Your deliberations will help us define our basis for cooperation and convert it into
programmatic action, from Seattle onwards. Next year's Millennium Summit, and the five-year reviews of the Beijing Conference and Copenhagen Summit, will offer further opportunities to follow up the outcome of your work. On behalf of the United Nations, I wish you a most productive meeting.