United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The Millennium Summit brought together representatives of many nations to discuss the needs of the world’s peoples and the role of the United Nations for the twenty-first century and beyond.

Summary of Event

In an attempt to assess the state of global affairs, the United Nations gathered representatives from all over the world in September, 2000, for the Millennium Summit in New York City. Planning for the summit began in December, 1998, under the leadership of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. With the overall theme “The United Nations in the Twenty-First Century,” the summit was intended to address several fundamental developmental objectives of the United Nations, including the promotion of peace and security, poverty eradication, and improvement of human rights around the world. These objectives were later formalized in the Millennium Declaration, which was jointly ratified by 189 U.N. member nations. In essence, the Millennium Summit was a brainstorming session at which representatives from U.N. member nations attempted to address some of the world’s burning issues of socioeconomic development, poverty, and the future of the United Nations itself. Millennium Summit (2000) United Nations;Millennium Summit [kw]United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit (Sept. 6-8, 2000) [kw]Millennium Summit, United Nations Holds the (Sept. 6-8, 2000) [kw]Summit, United Nations Holds the Millennium (Sept. 6-8, 2000) Millennium Summit (2000) United Nations;Millennium Summit [g]North America;Sept. 6-8, 2000: United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit[10790] [g]United States;Sept. 6-8, 2000: United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit[10790] [c]United Nations;Sept. 6-8, 2000: United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit[10790] [c]Diplomacy and international relations;Sept. 6-8, 2000: United Nations Holds the Millennium Summit[10790] Annan, Kofi

The Millennium Summit was preceded by some of the most elaborate planning for a summit in the history of the United Nations. In August, 2000, cochairs from the five continents were selected to head various discussion panels at the summit. These included the prime minister of Singapore and the presidents of Poland, Venezuela, and Algeria. To ensure that intergovernmental organizations were fully represented, the United Nations invited several prominent institutions to participate in the summit, including the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the European Commission, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments.

Plans were also made to ensure that the summit would be one of the most technologically advanced media events in history. The delegates’ speeches and other events during the three days of the summit would be available on the Internet through streaming audio and video. In addition, the government of Japan provided assistance in installing fifteen high-definition television monitors in the U.N. General Assembly Hall to enable delegates to follow all the summit’s events.

As the summit approached, the United Nations faced some daunting diplomatic events. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, was the only U.N. member nation that did not attend the summit. North Korean diplomats had planned to attend, but while they were in transit, they were checked through security in Frankfurt, Germany, in the same manner as civilian passengers. According to diplomatic protocol, such screening formalities are waived for ambassadors and national representatives. The North Korean delegates saw their treatment as an insult; they expressed displeasure over the incident and refused to attend the summit. In another event, on September 6, 2000, the day the summit was to open, three U.N. staff members were killed in militia-led violence in West Timor, a province of Indonesia.

On September 6, 2000, the Millennium Summit was inaugurated by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In his preliminary speech, after welcoming the world leaders, Annan cautioned them to be pragmatic in their efforts at the summit. On the second day of the summit, for the first time in U.N. history, women representatives of the member nations convened to discuss the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century and the role of women in peacekeeping missions. The future of peacekeeping missions was the continuing theme on the second day, with Annan proposing the “Freedom from Fear” agenda, which included issues such as complete revamping of peacekeeping operations and reexamination of their effectiveness. Discussions on the second day of the summit also highlighted the emerging importance of information and communications technology. In this regard, Annan announced the launching of the U.N. Information Technology Service and Health InterNetwork initiatives as channels to provide the United Nations and other relief organizations with access to up-to-date information.

On the third day of the summit, the participating nations drafted the Millennium Development Goals Millennium Development Goals, U.N. (MDGs), eight key global developmental objectives. These goals became the backbone of the remainder of the summit and provided a template for all developmental initiatives to be undertaken by the United Nations in the twenty-first century. A majority of the MDGs were concerned with encouraging member nations to meet key benchmarks in developmental issues by the year 2015. Some of the goals addressed issues that were of particular relevance to developing nations: poverty, access to clean drinking water, the gender gap in education, and the crisis represented by the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). As the summit ended on September 8, 2000, the delegates issued several joint declarations, including the Millennium Declaration, which listed the MDGs.

Significance

Although the goals laid out at the Millennium Summit were not met fully, the summit became the first of several related meetings of U.N. member nations to address development issues around the world. Following up on the progress made at the 2000 summit, the 2005 World Summit World Summit (2005) was held in New York City in September, 2005. In another follow-up summit, the United Nations organized the largest meeting of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in history in September, 2006. Despite the fact that not all of the goals set by the participating nations were met, the 2000 Millennium Summit was in many respects a bold new start toward global development initiatives. The summit also highlighted the key role of the United Nations in worldwide development efforts. Millennium Summit (2000) United Nations;Millennium Summit

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Juma, Calestous, and Lee Yee-Cheong. Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development—Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Sterling, Va.: Earthscan, 2005. Report sponsored by the U.N. Development Program presents an outline for policy action and implementation directed toward economic growth.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Kennedy, Paul. The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations. New York: Random House, 2006. Documents the first sixty years of the United Nations, describing its tumultuous past as well as its uncertain future in bringing together the world’s nations.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Moore, John Allphin, Jr., and Jerry Pubantz. The New United Nations: International Organization in the Twenty-First Century. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2005. Comprehensive volume presents a detailed discussion of the future of the United Nations in the context of its past.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Muravchik, Joshua. The Future of the United Nations: Understanding the Past to Chart a Way Forward. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 2005. Discusses possibilities for the future of the United Nations given the context of its past successes and failures. Offers a proposal for a slimmed-down version of the organization.

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