Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Message to the 56th Session of ESCAP
It gives me great pleasure to convey my greetings to the delegations attending the fifty-sixth
session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
This session is particularly timely, coming as it does on the heels of the WTO meeting in Seattle
and UNCTAD X in Bangkok earlier this year. As we enter the new millennium, our overarching
challenge is to manage the risks and seize the opportunities of globalization. No region in the
world should be without a plan of action designed to ensure that the benefits of globalization
are shared by all. Your responsibilities for the Asia-Pacific region are formidable and clear.
The powerful forces of globalization have ushered in faster economic growth, higher living
standards, accelerated innovation and rapid diffusion of technology. But globalization has also
meant greater vulnerability to unfamiliar and unpredictable forces that can bring on economic
instability and social dislocation. Concern and anxieties about these negative effects cannot be
Globalization must mean more than creating bigger markets. It must be about the inclusion and
integration of all countries and all people into the global economy, the international trading
system, and global society in general.
ESCAP has an important catalytic role to play in this process. Sound governance practices and
stable institutions will be rendered that much more effective if they are supported by
mechanisms at the regional, sub-regional and national levels. I emphasized this point in my
discussions at the ASEAN-UN Summit in Bangkok earlier this year, and I urge you to take this
into consideration when discussing possible action in the region.
Your region faces a range of complex and pressing issues. I have confidence that you can make
important contributions to our common progress. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for
the success of your important deliberations.