Moscow, 24 October 2008 - The United Nations was created in the aftermath of two World Wars not as a world government, but as a tool to promote better, predictable global governance based on shared global ideas and international law. From its early days, the UN acted as an advocate for universal values: equality, tolerance, justice, democracy and harmony among peoples and nations.


Already in those early days, it was clear that beyond the actions of States, information and communications were critical to our success. That is why the General Assembly, in its resolution 13 adopted in February 1946, stated that the United Nations “cannot achieve the purposes for which it has been created unless the peoples of the world are fully informed of its aims and activities”. Thus the decision was taken to establish UN “branch offices”, and the global network of Information Centres came into being. In Moscow, following an agreement between the first UN Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, the UN Information Centre was opened in 1948.


Sixty years on, our world and our Organization have changed beyond recognition. The problems we face have grown much more complex, impacting all of us around the globe. And as the world has changed, so has Russia. With the transition of your economy and society, the UN family has played a highly visible role, including humanitarian assistance in the North Caucasus, and support to federal and regional authorities in a range of areas -- from education, fighting AIDS and empowering women to protecting the environment and promoting good governance.


Today, we can all recognize the perils of our current passage. The international community faces a global financial crisis, compounded by challenges on global energy, climate and food security. International trade talks have suffered major setbacks. In some parts of the world, we have seen new outbreaks of war and violence. Nations can no longer protect their interests, or advance the well-being of their people, without the partnership of the rest.


Yet there is a danger of losing sight of this new reality. I see a danger of nations looking more inward, rather than towards a shared future. Global growth has raised billions of people out of poverty. But if you are among the poor and deprived, you have never felt poverty so sharply. International law and justice have never been so widely embraced as on this sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But those living in nations where human rights are abused or ignored have never been so vulnerable. Most of us are fortunate to live in peace and security. But violence is deepening in many nations and societies that can least afford it.


We can and should do something about it. With strong national and global leadership and vision, we will. The challenges before us are our creation. Therefore we can solve them, together. By acting wisely, responsibly and strategically, by strengthening and adapting our global institutions, we can set the stage for a new era of global understanding, cohesion and prosperity.


In this, Russia has an indispensable role to play. Throughout the history of the UN, we have come to expect a great deal of Russia. As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation has an enormous stake in a predictable, comprehensive system of global relationships, able to address major issues in a strategic and pragmatic way. The Russian principle of a multipolar world is close to the notion of multilateralism -- the bedrock of the United Nations.


So today, we expect Russia’s engagement in the UN to keep pace with the challenges and opportunities before us. I am convinced you can play an even greater role thank you once did -- a role commensurate with your tremendous size, wealth and global reach.


The first 60 years of the UN presence in Russia bode well for our future interaction. On this milestone celebration coinciding with United Nations Day, I express my warm wishes for many years of ever stronger partnership. I thank all of you for your commitment, and wish you a splendid celebration.