World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

United Nations

14 February 2006


The Secretary-General
Message to the Ninth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches

You meet at a crucial time for our United Nations. We have just celebrated our 60th anniversary, yet this is a time to not only look back on the six decades behind us. It is also a time to prepare for what lies ahead. We have tried to unite behind a common vision: to ensure that the UN is equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

To do that, we must recognize that the world today is very different from that of our founders. Our mission is still to serve the cause of peace, advance development, and defend the dignity of every human being. But we must adapt to new realities. This is so, whether we are fighting poverty, disease and environmental degradation, or working to strengthen democracy; whether we are advancing human rights and the rule of law, or combating terrorism; whether we are building peace, or making the United Nations more effective and more accountable to the peoples it exists to serve.

At a time when some would seek to divide the human family by exploiting differences among peoples, the United Nations needs more than ever the support of men and women of faith like you. That is why I am pleased to extend my best wishes to this ninth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches. As you pray for the United Nations, I hope you will pray that whatever the challenges and crises that confront us, we may make this indispensable instrument as effective as it can be. Pray that world leaders find the wisdom and the will to use this tool to its full capacity. Pray for peace in the family of nations.

Kofi A. Annan