The Brazilian government has learned, with great sorrow, of the passing of former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, in Bern, on 18 August.
Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan was the first UN Secretary-General to come from sub-Saharan Africa, and the first United Nations career officer to achieve the highest office of the institution.
He had deep knowledge of the UN's operations, both at headquarters in New York, and at field missions around the world. During his tenure at the helm of the Secretariat between 1997 and 2006, Kofi Annan stood as a champion of the reform and revitalization of the United Nations, including the Security Council, as well as the institutional strengthening of the agendas on human rights and promotion of peace.
Annan acted with admirable diplomatic skill as mediator of international crises and a creator of a future vision attuned to the challenges of the 21st century. He was able to balance the attributes of UN independence with the challenge of reconciling the interests of its member states. In 2005, he brought together over 170 heads of state and government at the World Summit, where leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, laying the foundations for the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, emphasizing the need to reform the Security Council as soon as possible.
Annan was a friend of Brazil, and he visited our country on several occasions. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian, was among his closest collaborators. His well-acknowledged moral authority led him to continue working, until his final days, towards a more peaceful and just world.
In expressing his solidarity with the family of the former secretary general, the UN officials and the Organization itself, the Brazilian government wishes the legacy of Kofi Annan, one of the greatest proponents of multilateralism, to always be remembered, so that his actions and ideals of peace, justice and tolerance continue to serve as an inspiration for generations to come.