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Secretary-General Applauds United Nations Economic Commission for Europe For ’Rising To The Challenges of Change’, in 60th Anniversary Message


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the high-level segment of the sixtieth anniversary session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), as delivered in Geneva on 26 April by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva:

This sixtieth anniversary is an occasion to celebrate the difference the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has made to the progress of the continent and the well-being of its citizens.

You have done this by adapting and rising to the challenges of change. As the first of the United Nations regional commissions, ECE was confronted since its inception with the needs of a region divided by the cold war. Faced with two different economic and social systems, ECE was able to convince both sides of the need for international norms and standards, and of the need to build and preserve a bridge between the two. By developing cooperation on a wide range of technical issues, ECE kept dialogue alive.

When the cold war ended, ECE again rose to the occasion and shifted its focus towards helping countries meet the challenges of transition. Since 1997, it has adopted two reforms to adapt to the ever-changing European architecture.

I applaud ECE for this capacity to change in order to better serve the needs of member States and their citizens. Your debates today are forward-looking, focused on how to move ahead with the 60-year movement towards pan-European integration. It is sometimes easy to forget Europe in the debate about development -- precisely because Europe is such a success story. But that success is not shared equally by all. The challenge for ECE and its partners is to help spread the success and build on it further.

I am pleased that, at this segment, you will be discussing the links between security, development and environment in Europe, as well as the challenges to greater economic integration. May your debates help stimulate you in your mission to widen the circle of peace and prosperity for all of your citizens.


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