Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, first let me thank you for coming to this meeting that has been organized by us in close collaboration with UYDP, OCHA, UNIGEF and IDNOR with generous support from the Canadian, UK, and USA development agencies. It always is a pleasure to recognize our partners.
We have with us here today representatives of a large number of agencies, institutions, NGOs, and private individuals. This cross section of interests is a manifestation of a growing and irreversible trend. The important issues of our time cannot be dealt with solely by nations, agencies, or individuals, even the most powerful ones. The phenomenon of globalization no longer is restricted to economic or financial matters: it is now evoking the wide participation of ranges and numbers of actors that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. In almost all aspects of our work, we are looking to find the partners and interests that can bring value to the management of the issue or the search for solutions, if definitive solutions ever can be found to the really important human challenges.