Holkeri: Millennium Declaration guides the UN

Harri Holkeri The Millennium Declaration is the single most significant document guidelining the United Nations to the 21st century since the adoption of the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said Harri Holkeri, the UN General Assembly President, while outlining the first session of the 55th General Assembly at a press conference in Helsinki on Monday, 8 January. The Millennium Declaration was adopted at the UN heads-of-state summit in September 2000.

A resolution obligating the member states to observe the guidelines of the Millennium Declaration was passed during the Holkeri presidency. However, the reforms and visions incorporated in the declaration cannot be implemented if member states make conflicting decisions nationally. Mr Holkeri was happy to report that the Finnish government has honoured its obligations and should not that be the case, "I would raise a furore over it and believe me, I would know how to do it", he added mischievously.

Other highlights of the first months of the 55th General Assembly include the debate over the structural reform of the UN, including the Security Council and its composition. UN peace-keeping operations were also high on the agenda. Consequently, Mr Holkeri said he was scheduled to leave on a fact-finding mission to East Timor on 9 January where the UN peacekeeping troops are embarked on a new kind of mission which includes nation-building measures in addition to the traditional armed presence of UN troops.

On his personal agenda as the president of UN General Assembly, Mr Holkeri mentioned his intention to promote a dialogue between the governments and non-governmental organisations. Mr Holkeri has adopted an unprecedentent system of giving the floor to NGO representatives in-between official government addresses to highlight the need for a true dialogue. According to Mr Holkeri, a partnership between the UN, private sector and NGOs is vital for a successful completion of any global endeavour.

The Finnish-language press conference is available as a RealAudio recording. The Millennium Declaration(Linkki toiselle web-sivustolle.)

UN General Assembly President(Linkki toiselle web-sivustolle.)