Annan pledges UN cooperation with Pacific island States

“Indeed, while responses to the vulnerabilities and challenges in the Pacific region should come first and foremost from your communities, our joint efforts and international solidarity can make a critical difference in responding to your peoples’ aspirations,” Mr. Annan told the 35th Pacific Islands Forum Summit meeting in Apia, Samoa, yesterday.”I am strongly committed to an ever-stronger partnership between our two Organizations across the full range of our common concerns,” he said in a message delivered by Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.He praised the 16-member Forum’s ability to cooperate on the basis of equality and mutual respect despite huge differences in size, population and level of economic development – ranging from the vastness of Australia with some 20 million people spread over nearly 8 million square kilometres to tiny Niue, with a population of 1,700 over 259 square kilometres.”Together, we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals and fulfil the vision set out in the Millennium Declaration,” Mr. Annan said, referring to specific targets set out by a UN summit four years ago, such as halving poverty and lagging access to education, improving gender equality, child mortality and maternal health rates, and combating HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation, all by 2015.

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