Staff and volunteers of the United Nations (U.N.) in Samoa yesterday paid tribute to former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Kofi Annan passed away in his home over the weekend after a short illness. He was 80 years old.
In the first of many official commemorations around the world, the U.N. flag flew at half mast, and service attendees stood for a moment of silence.
A condolences book was prepared and signed with letters by U.N. staff to send to headquarters in New York.
Regional Director Simona Marinescu delivered a heartfelt speech about Mr. Annan’s legacy, describing him as one of the most remarkable personalities of the U.N.
Mr. Annan was the Secretary General from 1997 until 2007.
In that time, he established the Millennium Development Goals, which are global targets in poverty reduction, healthcare access and more.
He also spent his tenure fighting H.I.V./A.I.D.S, tuberculosis and malaria and established Global Fund, a global public-private partnership still providing resources to countries battling these diseases.
“Kofi Annan has been a strong voice for human rights throughout his time with the United Nations,” Ms. Marinescu said.
“We will remember Kofi Annan as our great mentor, and our wise leader. We pray for his family, relatives and friends to find comfort in the great memories he left behind.”
Ms. Marinescu worked with Mr. Annan during her time serving the U.N. in Iraq from 2003 until 2012.
She shared how during a partnership conference in Copenhagen, she had the opportunity to meet Mr. Annan and asked for his advice when she was appointed the director of the first Global Policy Center of the U.N. for Private Sector in Development.
Mr. Annan had established the U.N. Global Compact in 1999 to integrate business into development.
“Since he was the leader who established the U.N. Global Compact, I asked his guidance as the first director of that center.
“I wanted him to help me with his vision as to how the organisation could best support the objectives of the U.N. Global Compact,” she said.
U.N. Global Compact is an arm of the U.N. that promotes contribution and participation of businesses to development, and has become the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
In a written statement, the current C.E.O. and Executive Director of the U.N. Global Compact, Lise Kingo honoured Mr. Annan for his work establishing Global Compact.
“As a result of Mr. Annan’s vision, the U.N. Global Compact is attracting new participants on a daily basis and providing corporate executives around the world with the inspiration and tools needed to drive a more sustainable and responsible business culture which can create prosperity while respecting people and the planet.”