Violence and Injury Prevention

Meeting on UN Collaboration for the Prevention of Interpersonal Violence

15-16 November 2001

UN Secretary General's message

"Violence cuts short the lives of millions of people across the world each year, and damages the lives of millions more. It knows no boundaries of geography, race, age or income. It strikes at children, young people, women and the elderly. It finds its way into homes, schools and the workplace. Interpersonal violence is considered less newsworthy than the violence associated with war, but its toll is just as destructive.

Men and women everywhere have the right to live their lives and raise their children free from the fear of violence. We must help them enjoy that right by making it clearly understood that violence is preventable, and by working together to identify and address its underlying causes.

The roots of violence are deep and complex, and no single segment of society can address them in isolation. It requires collaboration across all sectors, including health, education, labour, justice, and human rights, at the local, national and international levels. It requires the engagement of many parts of the United Nations family.

The wide variety of United Nations entities represented at this meeting is a fine example of that approach. I commend the World Health Organization’s initiative in bringing the participating agencies together. And I applaud all those present for their commitment to the mission of finding ways to prevent everyday violence, and working for the safety and well-being of families and communities worldwide. I wish you a most productive meeting."

Kofi A. Annan