Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


United Nations – millennium summit

United Nations – millennium summit

“Survival and spiritual development of man firm support of the human rights charter”. These are the three key points of the statement by the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Amb. Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, to the Millennium Summit of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations, opening the 55th Session of the General Assembly in New York from 6 to 8 September. Referring to these principles, which for nine centuries have constituted and still constitute the pillars of the Order’s humanitarian action worldwide, the Head of Government of the Order, in line with the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s programmatic speech, stressed the priorities that every Head of State and Government must recognise. These do not only refer to the future role of the world organization, but also and in particular to making every effort and using their powers to lessen differences and omissions and counter the deepening of imbalances if the globalisation of markets is not adequately governed.

Amb. Carlo Marullo pointed out the need for a harmonious and controlled development, respecting the ecosystem and the new biotechnologies applied to agriculture, guaranteeing the access of poorer countries to means of production to improve their quality of life, but more often and more extensively for pure survival. On the same level of priority and from an intellectual point of view, stressed the Grand Chancellor, is the need to widen cultural horizons with regards to the right to education for man’s spiritual development; and from a social point of view, not to allow any discrimination and to protect the right to life with the necessary guarantees, also with respect to justice in its widest meaning. Within this framework, Amb. Marullo said, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta wants firmly to confirm its total support of the Secretary General’s invitation to all nations “to sign and ratify the Rome Statutes International Criminal Court, so as to consolidate and enlarge the success achieved in delivering to justice those guilty of crimes against humanity”.

Over 100 Heads of State and Government participated in the World Summit. Besides giving official speeches they also took part in four round tables with interactive working groups addressing all the key topics of the Summit. In preparation for the Summit, the Secretary General issued the Millennium Report on 3 April last entitled: “We the Peoples: the Role of the United Nations in the Twenty-First Century”. This report, besides offering an action plan for extending globalisation to all populations in every continent, presents the United Nations’ mission during its 55 years of life; it lists numerous special goals and programmatic initiatives that the Secretary General is asking all world leaders to consider. A special working group, specially set up by Kofi Annan to discuss how to strengthen peace maintenance operations, issued it report on the eve of the World Summit to all participants.

The Summit has also offered the further opportunity to Heads of State and Government to sign multilateral treaties, or lodge ratification instruments for them, and in particular the 25 main treaties representing the fundamental goals of the United Nations.

During his time in New York, the Grand Chancellor, staying with his wife Donna Elisabetta in the Order’s Diplomatic Mission to the United Nations, has had profitable meetings with some government delegations present at the Summit and with numerous members of the Order’s Diplomatic Corps.


The Millennium Summit, the largest meeting ever held on a global level of Heads of State and Government, is taking place in New York, in the headquarters of the United Nations. It has been a harsh test for security systems with over 45000 agents mobilized to prevent any kind of accident.

Outside the UN Building groups of people of every political creed have been gathering since the morning of the 5th to protest against State systems and other international issues, shouting slogans and brandishing placards.

The event opened with the speech of the Secretary General Kofi Annan, touching all the points linked to the presence of the United Nations worldwide and, not least, that of the signature of the Treaty of Rome, instituting the International Criminal Tribunal for crimes against humanity.

The speakers, starting with President Clinton, demonstrated that although the cold war was a thing of the past there were still much disagreement on the political plane; even more difficult for the United Nations is their support of the defence of human rights. On this latter subject, the address of the Order’s Head of Government, Ambassador Count Carlo Marullo di Condojanni to the General Assembly, was particularly interesting.

Mr. President,

The Millennium Summit represents an opportunity to consider the actual evolutionary prospects with respect to the programmes presented by the International Community concerning the many problems faced by peoples in the world today, for most of which an adequate solution has not been found.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta congratulates the Secretary General on the high moral content of his speech, and wishes humbly to remind Heads of State and Heads of Government convened here some priorities, in the firm belief that when going home, as the Secretary General said, they will make their best efforts and use their powers in order to lessen differences and omissions, especially at this stage in the history of mankind in which the globalisation of markets, unless adequately governed, may lead to a deepening of the existing imbalances, thus making richer the already rich countries, and poorer the already poor ones.

Much will depend on the way in which the new bio-technologies applied to agriculture will be exploited. Such technologies must not become a new mine to be exploited by the few rich and powerful countries, but they must be made available to mankind, respecting, in any case, the fundamental rules of nature, thus without unhinging ecosystems and addressing the same towards an harmonious and controlled development assuring the poorer countries an easier access to production systems. Therefore, this may improve, if not solve, an age-long and chronic problem which cannot be tolerated any longer by all those who care for the future of mankind.

Therefore, if we look with great hope at the projects aimed at the alleviation of hunger in the world, at the enhancement of quality of life, through at least sufficient food and medicine supplies, we must not neglect, in addition to the issues relating to survival, the spiritual development of man from an intellectual point of view, and therefore the right to education, from a social point of view, and therefore the end of any discrimination, from the point of view of the right to live with the necessary assurances, also with respect to justice in the largest meaning of this word.

On the other hand, this is one of the purposes for which the United Nations were established. Such purposes specifically include the enhancement of behaviours complying with the principles of justice.

In a world approaching the third millennium, also the so-called civilised countries are unfortunately late in providing people with an effective justice. They openly declare a formal adherence to the charter of human rights, but then trample on such rights each time they do not assure fast trials and allow the use of unlimited pre-trial detention in criminal cases (thus breaching the basic legal right of the presumption of innocence until the final conviction) and, which is even worse, without respecting the individual right to an effective defence vis-à-vis the often excessive power granted to the prosecution, thus breaching the primary rule which should govern criminal trials, i.e. the absolute equality of defence and prosecution before an actually impartial judge.

In this view, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta firmly confirms its fullest response to the Secretary General’s invitation to all nations to “sign and ratify the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court, so as to consolidate and enlarge the success achieved in delivering to justice those guilty of crimes against humanity”.

Much could be added on this subject, but this would require additional time. The hope remains that the Millennium Summit may, accepting the requests of the Secretary General, effectively stimulate better forms of international aggregations among the States, in order to face emergencies in the world, also in view of a legitimate universal control which is now called for by the global perspective in which the International Community has been moving for some years.

Thank you Mr. President, and best wishes for the work we are all facing.



I. New Century, New Challenges

II. Globalization and Governance

III. Freedom from Want

IV. Freedom from Fear

V. Sustaining our future

VI. Renewing the United Nations

VII. For consideration by the Summit

I. New Century, New Challenges

The new millennium, and the Millennium Summit, offer the world’s peoples a unique occasion to reflect on their common destiny, at a moment when they find themselves interconnected as never before. They look to their leaders to identify and act on the challenges ahead. The United Nations can help meet those challenges, if its Members share a renewed sense of mission. Founded to introduce new principles into international relations in 1945, the UN has succeeded better in some areas than others. This is a chance to reshape the United Nations so that it can make a real and measurable difference to people’s lives in the new century.

II. Globalization and Governance

The benefits of globalization are obvious: faster growth, higher living standards, new opportunities. Yet a backlash has begun, because these benefits are so unequally distributed, and because the global market is not yet underpinned by rules based on shared social objectives.

In 1945 the founders set up an open and co-operative system for an international world. This system worked, and made it possible for globalization to emerge. As a result we now live in a global world. Responding to this shift is a central challenge for world leaders today.

In this new world, groups and individuals more and more often interact directly across frontiers, without involving the State. This has its dangers.

Crime, narcotics, terrorism, pollution, disease, weapons, refugees and migrants: all move back and forth faster and in greater numbers than in the past. People feel threatened by events far away. They are also more aware of injustice and brutality in distant countries, and expect States to do something about them. But new technologies also create opportunities for mutual understanding and common action. If we are to get the best out of globalization and avoid the worst, we must learn to govern better, and how to govern better together.

That does not mean world government or the eclipse of nation states. On the contrary, States need to be strengthened. And they can draw strength from each other, by acting together within common institutions based on shared rules and values. These institutions must reflect the realities of the time, including the distribution of power. And they must serve as an arena for states to co-operate with non-state actors, including global companies. In many cases they need to be complemented by less formal policy networks, which can respond more quickly to the changing global agenda.

The gross disparities of wealth in today’s world, the miserable conditions in which well over a billion people live, the prevalence of endemic conflict in some regions, and the rapid degradation of the natural environment: all these combine to make the present model of development unsustainable, unless remedial measures are taken by common agreement. A recent survey of public opinion across six continents – the largest ever conducted – confirms that such measures are what people want.

III. Freedom from Want

The past half-century has seen unprecedented economic gains. But 1.2 billion people have to live on less than $1 a day. The combination of extreme poverty with extreme inequality between countries, and often also within them, is an affront to our common humanity. It also makes many other problems worse, including conflict. And the world’s population is still rising rapidly, with the increase concentrated in the poorest countries.

We must act to reduce extreme poverty by half, in every part of the world, before 2015. The following are priority areas:

Achieving sustained growth. This means, above all, ensuring that people in all developing countries can benefit from globalization.

Generating opportunities for the young. By 2015, all children must complete primary schooling, with equal opportunities for both genders at all levels of education. And ways must be found to provide young people with decent work.

Promoting health and combating HIV/AIDS. Health research must be redirected at the problems affecting 90 per cent of the world’s people. By 2010 we should have cut the rate of HIV infection in young people by 25 per cent.

Upgrading the slums. We must support the “Cities without Slums” action plan, which aims to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

Including Africa. The Report challenges experts and philanthropic foundations to tackle low agricultural productivity in Africa. It also urges African governments to give higher priority to reducing poverty, and the rest of the world to help them.

Building digital bridges. New technology offers an unprecedented chance for developing countries to “leapfrog” earlier stages of development. Everything must be done to maximize their peoples’ access to new information networks.

Demonstrating global solidarity. Rich countries must further open their markets to poor countries’ products, must provide deeper and faster debt relief, and must give more and better focused development assistance. Ridding the world of the scourge of extreme poverty is a challenge to every one of us. We must not fail to meet it.

IV. Freedom from Fear

Wars between States have become less frequent. But in the last decade internal wars have claimed more than 5 million lives, and driven many times that number of people from their homes. At the same time weapons of mass destruction continue to cast their shadow of fear. We now think of security less as defending territory, more in terms of protecting people. The threat of deadly conflict must be tackled at every stage:

Prevention. Conflicts are most frequent in poor countries, especially in those that are ill governed and where there are sharp inequalities between ethnic or religious groups. The best way to prevent them is to promote healthy and balanced economic development, combined with human rights, minority rights and political arrangements in which all groups are fairly represented. Also, illicit transfers of weapons, money, or natural resources must be forced into the limelight.

Protecting the vulnerable. We must find better ways to enforce international and human rights law, and ensure that gross violations do not go unpunished.

Addressing the dilemma of intervention. National sovereignty must not be used as a shield for those who wantonly violate the rights and lives of their fellow human beings. In the face of mass murder, armed intervention authorized by the Security Council is an option that cannot be relinquished..

Strengthening peace operations. The Millennium Assembly is invited to consider recommendations from a high-level panel the Secretary-General has established to review all aspects of peace operations.

Targeting sanctions. Recent research has explored ways to make sanctions “smarter”, by targeting them better. The Security Council should draw on this research when designing and applying sanctions regimes in future.

Pursuing arms reductions. The Secretary-General urges Member States to control small arms transfers more rigorously; and to re-commit themselves to reducing the dangers both of existing nuclear weapons and of further proliferation.

V. Sustaining our future

We now face an urgent need to secure the freedom of future generations to sustain their lives on this planet – and we are failing to do it. We have been plundering our children’s heritage to pay for unsustainable practices. Changing this is a challenge for rich and poor countries alike. The Rio Conference in 1992 provided the foundations, and the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances is an important step forward. But elsewhere our responses are too few, too little and too late. Before 2002 we must revive the debate and prepare to act decisively in the following areas:

Coping with climate change. Reducing the threat of global warming requires a 60 per cent reduction in emissions of carbon and other “greenhouse gases”. This can be achieved by promoting energy efficiency and relying more on renewable energy sources. Implementing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol would be a first step.

Confronting the water crisis. The report urges endorsement of the World Water Forum Ministerial Conference’s target of cutting by half the proportion of people without access to safe and affordable water before 2015. It also calls for a “Blue Revolution” which would increase agricultural productivity per unit of water, while improving management of watersheds and flood plains.

Defending the soil. The best hope of feeding a growing world population from shrinking agricultural land may lie in biotechnology, but its safety and environmental impact are hotly debated. The Secretary-General is convening a global policy network to try and resolve these controversies, so that the poor and hungry do not lose out.

Preserving forests, fisheries, and biodiversity. In all these areas, conservation is vital. Governments and the private sector must work together to support it.

Building a new ethic of stewardship. The Secretary-General recommends four priorities:

1) Education of the public.

2) “Green accounting”, to integrate the environment into economic policy.

3) Regulations and incentives.

4) More accurate scientific data.

Peoples, as well as Governments, must commit themselves to a new ethic of conservation and stewardship.

VI. Renewing the United Nations

Without a strong UN, it will be much harder to meet all these challenges.

Strengthening the UN depends on Governments, and especially on their willingness to work with others – the private sector, non-governmental organizations and multilateral agencies – to find consensus solutions. The UN must act as a catalyst, to stimulate action by others. And it must fully exploit the new technologies, especially information technology.

The Secretary-General recommends action in these areas:

Identifying our core strengths. The UN’s influence derives not from power but from the values it represents, its role in helping to set and sustain global norms, its ability to stimulate global concern and action; and the trust inspired by its practical work to improve people’s lives. We must build on those strengths, especially by insisting on the importance of the rule of law. But we also need to adapt the UN itself, notably by reforming the Security Council so it can both work effectively and enjoy unquestioned legitimacy. And we must expand the UN’s relationship with civil society organizations, as well as with the private sector and foundations.

Networking for change. We must supplement formal institutions with informal policy networks, bringing together international institutions, civil society and private sector organizations, and national governments, in pursuit of common goals.

Making digital connections. We can use the new information technology to make the UN more efficient, and to improve its interaction with the rest of the world. But to do so we must overcome a change-resistant culture. The Secretary-General is asking the information technology industry to help us do it.

Advancing the quiet revolution. To meet the needs of the 21st century we need real structural reform, a clearer consensus on priorities among Member States, and less intrusive oversight of day-to-day management. Decisions are needed from the General Assembly – for instance to include “sunset provisions” in new mandates and to introduce results-based budgeting.

VII. For consideration by the Summit

The Secretary-General lists six shared values, reflecting the spirit of the Charter, which are of particular relevance to the new century: Freedom; Equity and Solidarity; Tolerance; Non-Violence; Respect for Nature; and Shared Responsibility. He urges the Millennium Summit to adopt a series of resolutions, drawn from the body of the Report, as an earnest of its will to act on those values.

Categories:  Diplomatic Activities, News