Kofi Annan’s legacy is unique and far-reaching
The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation was saddened to hear the news of Kofi Annan’s death. Those of us working for multilateralism and peace, we will miss Kofi Annan’s exceptional advocacy on behalf of people around the world and the global system.
Among his mountain of achievements, a number stand out that have a lasting impact for the world community’s handling of post-conflict transitions and peacebuilding organisations. His 2005 reforms that brought about the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture, which has grown and transformed over the last decade. The ‘In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all: Report of the Secretary-General’ led to important changes in how the United Nations handles post-conflict situations. Its recommendations and subsequent reviews continue to influence the essential tools and work of the United Nations.
As countries and their populations interact more with the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, we must remember and recognise Kofi Annan’s leadership at the turn of the century. His report, ‘We the people: The Role of the United Nations in the Twenty-First Century’ for the Millennium Summit created this fundamental shift toward a global platform. The Millennium Development Goals, and now the Sustainable Development Goals, will live on as a testament to Kofi Annan’s foresight.
Those us working on international peace and development issues have been touched in some way by Kofi Annan’s life and legacy. It is a profound honour for the Foundation that he delivered the fourth Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture in September 2001. During the speech he called on all to not stray from Dag Hammarskjöld’s ‘fundamental conviction that the essential task of the United Nations is to protect the weak against the strong. In the long term, the vitality and viability of the Organization depend on its ability to perform that task, by adapting itself to changing realities. That, I believe, is the biggest test it faces in the new century.’ This remains a core of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation’s organisational mission. With these words in mind, we once again reflect on the achievements of Kofi Annan and his colleagues at the United Nations in receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, another connection between Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan – the only two Secretary-Generals to have been awarded this distinction.
Each year the Foundation is fortunate to highlight Kofi Annan’s profound contributions through the Kofi Annan – Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture and Seminar in Accra, Ghana. It is our utmost hope that the occasion of this lecture not only underscores the legacy of these great statesmen, but also opens additional space for the inclusivity of civil society in the greater questions of peace and security.
Kofi Annan will remain a guidepost and elder in the work of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. We remain inspired by his life, leadership and legacy.
The staff and Board of Trustees of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation join the world in mourning the great Kofi Annan and offer our sympathies to the Kofi Annan Foundation and his family in this difficult time.