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Vittorio Emanuele Agostinelli

Consulta giovanile del Pontificio Consiglio della Cultura

Abstract

In 1998, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. The Year was established to assess and promote the contributions of microcredit and microfinance to the Millennium Development Goals; to increase public awareness and understanding of microcredit and microfinance; to support sustainable access to financial services; and to encourage and establish innovation and partnerships among the many institutions participating in microfinance activities. Kofi Annan was UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006. One of his main priorities during this period was a comprehensive programme of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organisation closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.

Abstract - LA NASCITA DELL’ANNO INTERNAZIONALE DEL MICROCREDITO 2005
E LA KOFI ANNAN FOUNDATION

Nel 1998 l’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite ha proclamato il 2005 Anno Internazionale del Microcredito. L’Anno è stato istituito per valutare e promuovere i contributi del microcredito e della microfinanza ai Millennium Development Goals; per aumentare la consapevolezza pubblica e la comprensione del microcredito e della microfinanza; per sostenere l’accesso sostenibile ai servizi finanziari; e per incoraggiare e stabilire innovazione e partenariati tra le numerose istituzioni che partecipano alle attività di microfinanza. Kofi Annan è stato Segretario Generale delle Nazioni Unite dal gennaio 1997 al dicembre 2006. Una delle sue principali priorità durante questo periodo è stato un programma globale di riforme volto a rivitalizzare le Nazioni Unite e rendere più efficace il sistema internazionale. È stato un sostenitore costante dei diritti umani, dello stato di diritto, dei Millennium Development Goals e dell’Africa, ha cercato di avvicinare l’organizzazione alla popolazione globale creando legami con la società civile, il settore privato e altri partner.

  1. The ECOSOC and International Year of Microcredit 20051

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the 6 principal organs of the United Nations System established by the UN Charter in 1945. It consists of 54 Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly. ECOSOC coordinates economic, social, and related work of the fourteen United Nations specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. It is responsible for:

promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;

identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;

facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation;

encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 3,200 registered non-governmental organizations. The work of the Council is conducted through several sessions and preparatory meetings, round tables and panel discussions with members of civil society throughout the year, to deal with the organization of its work.2

In 1998, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. UNCDF and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) were invited to jointly coordinate the activities of the United Nations system during the preparations for and the observance of the Year.

The ECOSOC proclaimed the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit to call for building inclusive financial sectors and strengthening the powerful, but often untapped, entrepreneurial spirit existing in communities around the world.

Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, states “The great challenge before us is to address the constraints that exclude people from full participation in the financial sector. The International Year of Microcredit offers a pivotal opportunity for the international community to engage in a shared commitment to meet this challenge. Together, we can and must build inclusive financial sectors that help people improve their lives.”3

There are five goals associated with “The Year” which are:

Assess and promote the contribution of microfinance and microcredit to the MDGs;

Increase public awareness and understanding of microfinance and microcredit as vital parts of the development equation;

Promote inclusive financial sectors;

Support sustainable access to financial services,

Encourage innovation and new partnerships by promoting and supporting strategic partnerships to build and expand the outreach and success of microcredit and microfinance.

“Yet in view of the progress made in the world, the decline is certainly not at a satisfactory rate. The reduction in the level of poverty and marginalization is due to a combination of factors, in which strong actions for human development is not a small part. Indeed, it is a priority to accelerate, reinforce, deepen and implement these actions” – Fouad Abdelmoumni, Executive Director, Association Al Amana and Advisor for the International Year of Microcredit 2005 said – “Recognizing microfinance as one of the key instruments, the UN General Assembly declared 2005 as the “International Year of Microcredit.” The Year provides an opportunity for the various actors in the industry to highlight their work; to reflect on what is at stake in the development of the sector, and by examining the factors restricting access to financial services. This reflection will intensify and reinforce the positive impact of microfinance, and engage other actors to make a significant contribution.”4

  1. The Kofi Annan Foundation5

Kofi A. Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and was the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. In 2001, he and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Kofi Annan was praised for being “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organization.” (Norwegian Nobel Committee, October 2001). He died in 2018 after a short illness.

Kofi Annan was UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006. One of his main priorities during this period was a comprehensive programme of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organisation closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners. At Mr. Annan’s initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. It was also at Mr. Annan’s urging that, in 2005, Member States established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.

“Clear roadmaps, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement, have already been drawn to guide us. The resources and expertise - bolstered by the promises of new technologies - exist to address many global challenges, and we can strengthen the capacity of our societies to withstand current and future shocks. But only if we face our common destiny together, as Kofi Annan urged us. Only if these societies are led by legitimate and accountable governments, with democratic and effective institutions that ensure access to food, health, and other essential goods and services for all their citizens. Only if the rights of communities and individuals are protected, if no group is marginalised or disempowered. And only if all stakeholders — including young people, civil society, the private sector, academia and local authorities — are brought together through concerted action at local, national and international levels, can effective, coherent, and integrated responses be designed and applied”, ELHADJ AS SY, Chair of the Board of Kofi Annan Foundation, on the Strategic Framework 2020-2024.6

1 UNCDF, 2006, International Year of Microcredit 2005 Final Report, https://bit.ly/3tcPt9e

2 UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, About ECOSOC and its Subsidiary Bodies, https://bit.ly/3Mj8eym

3 Kofi Annan, Why a Year? – The International Year of Microcredit 2005, https://bit.ly/3zh3h6m

4 Fouad Abelmoumni, The International Year of Microcredit 2005, https://bit.ly/38NDDvg

5 Kofi Annan Foundation, Biography, https://bit.ly/3NQjKlV

6 Kofi Annan Foundation, Strategic Framework 2020-2024, https://bit.ly/3zfpjGr

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