Speech by Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic
to the General Assembly of the United Nations
for the Millennium Summit
New York, 6 September 2000
(Translated from the French)
Time has changed its rhythm. A new world has emerged in the space of a single generation. A world that still bears the
scars of the past and where crises and conflicts still persist. But a world that is already in the future. An open world
in which borders are slowly disappearing, a world steeped in the new global culture of communications technologies. A
world with a wealth of promise and breathtaking progress, but, unfortunately, a world that is creating new forms of
The world taking shape before our eyes needs common rules, principles and ambitions. That is why the time is right for
this Summit. We must work together to build a new international society that is more civilized, more caring, more just
and better managed. The UN is the natural place to undertake this task.
We must breathe life into an ethic for the 21st Century to serve mankind, human dignity and human rights.
This ethical combat is above all the combat for peace democracy.
Peace, because peace is our peoples' most precious possession. Peace that needs to be strengthened unceasingly through
greater efforts to achieve non‑proliferation and disarmament, with universal ratification of the Comprehensive
Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty and new negotiations on biological weapons, ballistic weapons and small arms. Peace that calls
for reform of the UN as a peacekeeping body, notably by enlarging both categories of Security Council membership. France
is very attached to this critical reform.
Democracy, because democracy alone ensures respect for human rights and human dignity, because it is the surest path to
stability, development and progress for all. Because it is also the surest way to guarantee peace.
This ethical combat is everybody's task. Governments, as well as associations, businesses, media, new players that are
carving out a place for themselves on the international scene. Our globalized world needs bodies that work together to
manage it better and advance our ideals.
This starts with solidarity. The wealth generated by globalization must lead to more solidarity. Eradicating hunger and
poverty must remain a priority amongst priorities. We have the means. We need the will and the courage to implement
them, in keeping with our commitments.
Then there is the combat for a better environment and the preservation our planet's riches. Coordinated policies to
preserve the' diversity of cultures and languages, which are the foundations of our peoples' identities. The will to act
ceaselessly to fight insecurity by tackling all cross‑border scourges: terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.
The will also, to fight major pandemics effectively, particularly HIV/AIDS.
These are all critical issues for the inhabitants of our planet and we can only make progress on them together, in a
spirit of shared responsibility.
Our world, which is still fraught with political, economic and financial crises, does not suffer from a surfeit of
rules, but from the problems of keeping international law and practices abreast of change and progress.
If we are to build a world order that meets the needs of our times, we must strengthen and improve the coexistence of
great institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and, first of all, the UN.
We all know that the UN plays a major role. In its first half‑century of existence, this universal, democratic
institution has become irreplaceable. We must let it adapt to today's world. By modernizing the methods of the General
Assembly, which is the world's Parliament in a way. By supporting the reforms undertaken by our Secretary‑General, Mr
Kofi Annan, whom I would like to salute here. By making the best use of the information revolution. And finally, by
providing the necessary resources, as the European Union countries do, supplying more than one third of the budget and
half of the financing for UN funds and programmes. This will enable the UN to fulfil its duties and influence the course
of world history.
For its part, the European Union, which is a leading player in the world economy and multilateral institutions, is
determined to fulfil its responsibilities in the cause of peace ever more fully. It has devoted the necessary resources
to this cause, because by fulfilling its role, it helps to bring about a more diverse, more balanced, more caring and
more peaceful world.
Globalization marks a new stage in humankind's adventure. It challenges us to reinvent political action on a worldwide
scale, political action guided by our intelligence, our courage and our hearts. Our peoples are expecting much of us. I
would like this Millennium Summit to mark a further step towards greater peace, freedom, security and development.