CIBJO pays tribute to Kofi Annan, 1938-2018,
father of Millennium Development Goals and the Global Compact

ABOVE: Kofi Annan, 1938-2018.

AUGUST 20, 2018

CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation, has paid tribute to Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, who died in Switzerland on August 18 at age 80. CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri described him as “giant among men, whose legacy will be measured by the millions of people he helped save from abject poverty and hopelessness.”

The first African to head the international body, during his two terms as Secretary General, from 1997 to 2006, the Ghanaian diplomat formulated the Millennium Development Goals and established the UN Global Compact, both of which can be credited for extracting millions of individuals in under-developed regions from poverty and providing them with a promise for a better future. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his role in revitalising the United Nations.

“Kofi Annan’s belief was that we have a collective responsibility for the welfare of all humanity, and that our long-term wellbeing will depend on our ability to improve the lives and futures of the world’s most downtrodden. It was an understanding  that expanded the mission of CIBJO, and I would argue of the jewellery industry in general,” said Dr. Cavalieri.

In 2006, CIBJO became the first and only body in the international jewellery and gemstone sector to obtain special consultative status with the  UN’s Economic and Social Council, and as such committed the jewellery industry to the mission of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. These were eight international development goals that were declared by Mr. Annan at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. With a 15-year target date, they included, among others, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, ensuring environmental sustainability, and the establishment of a global partnership for development, which included governments, business and civil society. In 2015, after making substantial progress on almost all fronts, they were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals.

Also in 2006, CIBJO joined the UN Global Compact, which is a United Nations initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. It was first proposed by Mr. Annan at the World Economic Forum on January 31, 1999, and was officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York on July 26, 2000. Today it is recognized as the is the world’s largest Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, with 13,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders in more than 170 countries.

“For the past 12 years, CIBJO has worked tirelessly to promoting our societal mission and introducing programmes that underscore our commitment to serving the welfare of all stakeholders in the global jewellery and gemstone sectors, and especially those of living in underdeveloped areas,” said Dr. Cavalieri. “Our contention has been that we, as members of a business community, should be considered by the greater society as being part of the solution. It is a doctrine that largely can be credited to the life and work of Kofi Annan.”

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