Day 5 - January 12
Day Seven of the Community Vilaj truly lived up to the dialogue space's mission statement of "Local Voices œ Global Impact”. The day saw UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and Mrs. Annan visit the Vilaj and spend one and a half hours speaking with participants about the issues most important to them. The Secretary-General heard how the community participants, and countless other communities around the globe, are working to build resilience and develop effective strategies for coping with, and mitigating, risk and disaster. Full coverage of the Secretary-General’s visit to the Community Vilaj can be found in the daily Photo Diary and in a short Film on his remarks.
Mr. and Mrs. Annan arrived at the Community Vilaj, at the Freeport Exhibition Centre, at 3:15 p.m. After a community presentation, the Secretary-General responded to questions posed by community representatives participating in the Community Vilaj. The Secretary-General, in his thoughtful responses, focused on the role that communities can play in effectively addressing the vulnerability of island states to natural disasters and environmental hazards. He also spoke broadly about the need for greater recognition of the role of communities in development and about the tremendous innovation and leadership shown by so many local groups and organizations in promoting sustainable development. The Secretary-General noted that community contributions will be extremely important in the push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) and thanked the attendees for showing their commitment through their participation in the Vilaj.
Following his visit to the Community Vilaj, the Secretary-General visited the UNESCO Youth Visioning for Island Living” Initiative, which brought together 100 youth representatives from 37 small islands to discuss and deliberate youth perspectives on island sustainable development issues. After the Secretary-General's departure, Mrs. Anan remained for the closing ceremony of the Youth Visioning activity and spent time speaking with youth about their hopes and concerns.