The most popular and successful Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, died on August 18, 2018. In his lifetime, he had passed a very dignified and prestigious time in his workplace. He was duty bound, active, honest and sincere person as the world diplomates have ever seen.
He glorified his life by his talents and flourished his workplace with potents and reputation. When Kofi Annan was appointed secretary-general on December 13, 1996, the investigators knew that he was the most popular of the UN staff. He served as the Under Secretary General of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission from March 1, 1993. And was promoted to the position of Assistant Secretary General of the same department in just one year, which was a testament to his widespread devotion.
During his five years of service life, he served as a member of the United Nations Department, including budget planning and accounting management. Kofi Annan went to Baghdad on the advice of the then Secretary-General of Iraq when Iraq occupied Kuwait, and was able to relieve about a dozen of its staff from UN and international organizations.
He quickly caught the attention of the world. His most talked-about initiative at that time was the sale of oil in Iraq and the promise of spending on humanitarian services.
Kofi Annan was a genuine friend of Bangladesh. He saw and appreciated Bangladesh's participation in peacekeeping missions very positively. He visited Bangladesh on March 2010 and laid the foundation stone of the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
As many people know, two expatriate Bangladeshi Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam, who live in Vancouver, Canada in 1998, have appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to declare February as International Mother Language Day.
Twenty-one February was declared as International Mother Language Day at the Paris Session of UNESCO on November 27 of the following year, and has been celebrated with appropriate dignity in the Member States of the United Nations since 21st February.
A resolution passed on the 65th of the UN session of the UN General Assembly on October 2010, which the United Nations will observe International Mother Language Day on February 21, every year from now on. Kofi Annan had a direct role in this.
During the tenure of Kofi Annan's second general secretary, the UN Security Council was chaired by Bangladesh diplomat Anwarul Karim Chowdhury. On the recommendation of serial number 1358 of the Security Council, the General Assembly unanimously re-appointed Kofi Annan as Secretary-General on 29 June 2001, which was effective until 31st December 2006.
The role of the President of the Security Council is a very important event at that time. Anwarul Karim Chowdhury appreciated Kofi Annan's appointment recommendation statement, praised his independent wisdom and considerations, and noted that Anan's experience and work skills are particularly important to the UN.
As a staff member of the Geneva Secretariat of the UN Information Society Summit in 2003 and 2005, we would have known in advance what decisions were made when to bring coffee. Especially in the complex situations, Kofi Anan's thoughtful role impressed them.
At that time, the young diplomat of the Geneva embassy in Bangladesh, Danul Islam, was in charge and kept close contact with the ITU secretariat. In many respects in the context of the Declaration Debate, Mr. Reza Selim, a Bangladeshi famous IT expert was able to resolve the concerns of Daniul Islam by reporting the Secretary General's prompt intervention.
At that time, Mr. Reza coordinated with some of the young diplomats, such as Daniul Islam, on behalf of the Secretariat, whose role was very commendable.
An undercurrent of the vision of today's digital Bangladesh was created through the adoption of the Geneva and Tunis Declaration. The role of information technology in poverty alleviation is happening all over the world. At the summit preparation meetings, rich countries argue on the one hand, and realistic arguments are going against them. Kofi Annan was going one at a time to make the announcement after ending the two-year debate.
He never bothered; in the end, he also said, "they must decide how the countries will use information technology to build a unified society." The then leader of the opposition and present Prime Minister used to monitor regularly the UN initiative through Mr. Hasan Mahmud, her special assistant.
In coordination with the host country, the Swiss government, Mr. Reza handed over the invitation letter of Kofi Annan to Sheikh Hasina. Dr. Hasan Mahmud, who was present on behalf of Sheikh Hasina himself during the preparation of the Tunisian Declaration in November 2005, played an active role in formulating the recommendation of the meeting called the ICT for Peace (Information Technology for Peace).
It was through the Geneva Declaration that the people of the world outlined the formation of a UN information society. Kofi Annan set the boundaries of 5 regional and 3 central preparatory meetings in 2002 and 2003 to make this declaration.
But the countries could not agree on either of the two issues. First, what will be the financing process in the development of IT and second, how about internet administration? The second thing was very tricky, because the United States somehow controlled the Internet, especially the icons didn't want that.
In these debates, the Geneva Convention was almost poised. Because, according to UN rules, the Declaration of the Summit is not accepted unless all countries agree. Kofi Annan approved the extended meeting of the Third Meeting on 10-14 November 2003, due to disagreement.
Unfortunately, there is no unanimous decision in this regard, and disappointment is brought to all the castles. But Kofi Annan directed the secretariat to host another extended meeting which was almost unbelievable, because the issue of cost reduction comes to the fore.
Kofi Annan's friend, Ambassador Walter Frost, chief of the Swiss development organization, came forward. The extension of the meeting was held on December 5-6 just 5 days before the summit. Kofi Annan was steady at the conference. Many government and presidents of the country fall into the dilemma of whether or not to go to Geneva.
Kofi Annan instructed the secretariat to keep all the arrangements in place and sent messages to all countries saying that the summit would be held. This is the most catastrophic situation as viewed from the diplomatic corps, if the heads of government of each country come and there is no summit, what message would they carry? Even the wealthiest countries get worried.
International media disseminates the news as a major challenge to the UN. There was no unanimous decision despite the overnight meeting on December 6. Kofi Annan said he was coming to Geneva from New York and called an extended meeting on December 9, the day before the conference.
On the morning of that morning, Kofi Annan sent a decision stating that he was setting up two separate taskforces on two disputes, that the task force would report to Tunisia in the second phase, and that light would be decided at that time. Representatives from many countries came to our secretariat to share their education with us.
There are plenty of examples to learn from Nobel Laureate Kofi Annan in any critical situation.In retirement, he and his friend Ambassador Walter Frost formed the 'Global Humanitarian Forum'in 2007, which was aimed at raising the conscience of the world to respond to humanity's call.
He formed a trust with 18 nobel laureates and started working on climate change. He invited Reza Selim through his secretary at the annual conference of the forum in 2009 and asked someone to participate from the new government of Bangladesh.
The then Foreign Minister, Hasan Mahmud and Comilla MP AKM Bahauddin Bahar participated in the event. He abolished the Global Humanitarian Forum in 2010, activated up his Foundation, until the very end of his life. The Foundation has suggested ways to address the situation in many countries, including Syria and Myanmar.
It is not possible to analyze the facts of Kofi Annan's wise consideration given by Ambassador of Bangladesh Anwarul Karim Chowdhury. I believe that young diplomats of Bangladesh, experts in international relations and students and interested researchers, news workers will enrich themselves by collecting information about Kofi Annan and give proper respect to the role of such people to promote knowledge-based society in the world.
The writer is a columnist
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