Millennium Project

World Leaders on Global Challenges
by Jerome C. Glenn, Elizabeth Florescu, and Theodore J. Gordon
for a contract from the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute
The full report is included in the State of the Future reports (2001 and after)

Full text of the study in PDF format: Millenium Summit Speeches.pdf

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

1 Globalization

2 Peace and Conflict

3 Rich-Poor gap

4 Human Rights

5 UN Reform

6 Environmental issues

Appendices

Appendix A: United Nations Millennium Declaration
Appendix B: General Assembly follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit
Appendix C: List of Highly Indebted Poor Countries, Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan African Countries
Appendix D: List of Countries and Representatives Who Delivered Speeches at the UN Millennium Summit

Executive Summary

The largest gathering of world leaders in history assembled at the United Nations September 6-8, 2000 to assess the challenges of the 21st century, called the UN Millennium Summit. There were 149 heads of State or Government, 5 Deputy Ministers, 21 other Ministers, 5 Vice?Presidents, 2 Crown Princes, 8 chairpersons of delegations, 6 observers, and 2 from civil society (Conferences of Presiding Officers of the National Parliaments and the Millennium Forum).   The world leaders met both in public to share their views and in private round tables to discuss a full range of issues face-to-face. Background reports for this historic event are available via Internet at http://www.un.org/millennium/.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 54/254 that authorized the Millennium Summit stated that it would “provide an opportunity to strengthen the role of the United Nations in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century.” The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General "to seek the views of Member States, members of the specialized agencies and observers and to propose, after a process of intergovernmental consultation, a number of forward-looking and widely relevant topics that could help focus the Millennium Summit within the context of an overall theme, for consideration by the Assembly at its resumed fifty-third session". The UN Secretary-General states the purpose of the Millennium Summit in the conclusion of his 10 May 1999 report: The Millennium Assembly of the United Nations: Thematic framework for the Millennium Summit:

... firstly, that the occasion of the third millennium presents a timely opportunity for the only global organization, in terms of its membership as much as of its areas of work, to identify the challenges that it will face in the future and to engage in an imaginative exercise to enhance and strengthen a unique institution; secondly, that the Millennium Summit will prove to be more than merely a celebratory event. It is essential that it should provide an opportunity for a moral recommitment to the purposes and principles laid down in the Charter of the United Nations and spur new political momentum for the international cooperation and solidarity that the peoples of the world increasingly demand.
Although many challenges facing the world today were discussed, there was very little attention to the next hundred years.

This study provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the content of the speeches delivered at the UN Millennium Summit. Prior to the Summit, the UN Secretary-General circulated to all member countries a Millennium Report "We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century". To some degree, the speeches can be thought of as responses to that report.  Sixty-three key concepts were identified, counted, and grouped into six themes by the Millennium Project staff and consultants. These themes are: globalization, peace and conflict, rich-poor gap, human rights, UN reform, and the environment. Quotations were selected by Millennium Project staff and diplomatic consultants due to their illustrative nature and/or to the country’s situational relevance.

The host country for the Millennium Summit set the tone for this historic event as a supreme paradox:

We meet at a remarkable moment – when more of the world’s people enjoy prosperity, freedom, and democracy than ever before. We are unlocking the human genome, exploring new frontiers of science, drawing nearer together through the most extraordinary technology.  Yet, the Secretary General, in his Millennium Report, reminds us that our greatest challenges are all unmet: to free humanity from poverty, disease, and war; to reverse environmental destruction; and to make this United Nations a more effective instrument in pursuing all these aims. (U.S.)
In his opening address to the Millennium Summit, the UN Secretary-General stated the central ethical challenge of our time:
In an age when human beings have learnt the code of human life, and can transmit their knowledge in seconds from one continent to another, no mother in the world can understand why her child should be left to die of malnutrition or preventable disease.
The small Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia echoed a similar sense of paradox:
 ...we have a world of unlimited possibility, a world of technological wizardry... [and] a digital divide that more than ever extends the gap between the haves and the have ?nots into those who know from those who don't.
And the Maldives added that
...decolonisation is almost complete, Apartheid has been dismantled. Peace has paved the way for human progress.  In many parts of the world, health status has improved. And so has education.  The standard of living is rising. Human rights are more widely respected. Democracy has virtually replaced despotism. We would rejoice in these achievements, were not for the horror of the failures. Remember the millions of children dying of hunger. Recall the killing fields of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
These paradoxes and the other great challenges we face at the millennium are transnational in nature and trans-institutional in solution. They cannot be addressed by any government or organization acting alone; they require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, and other NGOs.

Finland added the key meta-challenge:  We know the facts. We know what we want.  We know how to get it. All we need is the will to do it.

Most of the UN Millennium Summit speeches spoke of a globalizing world where reducing conflict, poverty, environmental destruction, corruption, and crime, while increasing development, democratization, and human welfare are possible if the right actions were taken. Although many negative futures were discussed, the speeches contained much optimism that solutions are possible.

In the meantime, we are faced with a world polarized in power and wealth, while seeking equity and new partnerships for development. Diplomatic veterans observed that there was increased interest in a) coordinated strategies among the UN, World Bank, IMF, and WTO, b) the UN’s evolution from just reacting to problems to anticipating and preventing problems, and c) in democratizing the major multi-lateral institutions. Yet, humanitarian intervention still high on the agenda received less attention than last year.

Millennium Project diplomatic consultants also were surprised by the number of governments calling for changes in the Security Council. Since the number of UN member nations has nearly quadruped in the fifty-five years since World War II, many leaders spoke of expanding the Security Council. This is not a vote of confidence in the present operations of the Council. Developing nations called for open markets, debt reduction, increased financial aid, democratization of international institutions, and technology transfer to improve their prospects for development. Both rich and poor nations spoke of greater attention to conflict prevention, global gaps such as the digital divide, and the need for development, especially in Africa. The UK mentioned "Africa" twelve times in a two-page speech.

Few took this opportunity to discuss their visions of the 21st century; the vast majority of time was given to correct injustices and problems of the recent past. However, after the Summit, these leaders did meet in closed round table discussions to explore the issues raised in these speeches in greater detail.

The following tables show the frequency with which the key concepts were mentioned altogether in the speeches and respectively by countries. These key words were selected as they seem to encompass the main ideas that emerged from the statements and therefore reflect the spirit of the Summit. The words were counted as per the frequency they were mentioned in the speeches and the number of countries that mentioned them. The counting was both objective and subjective. A word was counted when it was used to express an idea (and not when part of a general statement or enumeration); similarly, if a paragraph reflected a key concept but did not use the key word per say, there was a registration for the word. Additionally judgments were made about the context of words.  For example, social “environment” was not included with the use of the term “environment” referring to Nature.
 
 
Key concept
Countries
Freq.
Aid/Assistance for Development
44
58
Arms (small, traffic)
25
39
Brahimi Report
15
14
Cold War
23
31
Conflict 
107
253
Cooperation
62
91
Corruption
13
27
Crises
21
27
Culture/Values
47
95
Debt
61
119
Decision Making
38
48
Democratization
82
142
Development
114
179
Disarmament
25
32
Diseases
53
76
Education
48
68
Elections
11
12
Energy
11
14
Environment
97
151
Ethics/Morals
40
63
Ethnic
20
29
Future
54
78
Global Long-term Perspective
5
5
Globalization
130
307
Global Warming
14
22
Governance
47
59
Health
40
47
HIV/AIDS
44
68
Human Rights
101
196
Humanitarian
20
34
Human Security
8
13
International Criminal Court
16
20
Independence
38
39
Information Technology
51
83
Justice
58
115
Liberty
11
14
Nuclear
39
94
Peace
148
454
Peacekeeping
56
94
Population
15
22
Poverty/Third World
134
335
Rich-Poor Gap
66
101
Refugees
19
22
Regional
51
110
Resources
44
61
Rich/Developed Countries
51
72
Sanctions
16
20
Security Council
94
186
Sustainable Development
36
46
Security
102
191
Small/Developing Countries
81
170
Solidarity
48
66
Sovereignty
36
53
Standard/Quality of Life
21
24
Science and Technology
55
78
Taiwan
14
16
Terrorism
32
60
Transnational Crime
31
40
Urban-Rural
2
12
War
65
108
Water
15
20
Weapons
36
62
Women/Gender Equality
38
50

Table 2: List of Key concepts by respect to the overall frequency they were mentioned
 
Key concept
Countries
Freq.
Peace
148
454
Poverty/Third World
134
335
Globalization
130
307
Conflict 
107
253
Human Rights
101
196
Security
102
191
Security Council
94
186
Development
114
179
Small/Developing Countries
81
170
Environment
97
151
Democratization
82
142
Debt
61
119
Justice
58
115
Regional
51
110
War
65
108
Rich-Poor Gap
66
101
Culture/Values
47
95
Nuclear
39
94
Peacekeeping
56
94
Cooperation
62
91
Information Technology
51
83
Future
54
78
Science and Technology
55
78
Diseases
53
76
Rich/Developed Countries
51
72
Education
48
68
HIV/AIDS
44
68
Solidarity
48
66
Ethics/Morals
40
63
Weapons
36
62
Resources
44
61
Terrorism
32
60
Governance
47
59
Aid/Assistance for Development
44
58
Sovereignty
36
53
Women/Gender Equality
38
50
Decisionmaking
38
48
Health
40
47
Sustainable Development
36
46
Transnational Crime
31
40
Arms (small, traffic)
25
39
Independence
38
39
Humanitarian
20
34
Disarmament
25
32
Cold War
23
31
Ethnic
20
29
Corruption
13
27
Crises
21
27
Standard/Quality of Life
21
24
Global Warming
14
22
Population
15
22
Refugees
19
22
International Criminal Court
16
20
Sanctions
16
20
Water
15
20
Taiwan
14
16
Brahimi Report
15
14
Energy
11
14
Liberty
11
14
Human Security
8
13
Elections
11
12
Urban-Rural
2
12
Global Long-term Perspective
5
5


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