September Winners: Who benefited from the meetings?

09/27/2000
Now that Heads of State have gone all together with their wooden barriers, multitudes and bodyguards it may be time to wonder who benefited most out of the series of September meetings. Among those are maybe the following:

New York City, where 150 Heads of State, over 8000 delegates and 5000 journalists stayed mainly in the most expensive hotels, dined at the best restaurants and used the most advanced means of communication and transport. Despite frustrating traffic during the ten days between the so- called spiritual summit. A parliamentarian's gathering and session for Heads of States, the amount of 300 million dollars would be a minimum. It was noted that the major this time did not object to any double parking or other traffic violations as was his habit. In fact, 1st Avenue was totally closed. 2nd Avenue as well as many of the streets hosting the dignitaries or specifically blocked for the sole use of the visitors. It is known that in normal conditions the city of New York benefits from the presence of the United Nations and its diplomatic missions with an annual amount of over a billion dollars.

The United Nations was revived and refreshed by an impressive participation after losing embarrassing grounds over the last few years between the streets of Sarajevo, the jungles of Rwanda and the countryside of Sierre Leone.

Secretary General Kofi Anan, who initiated the gathering and was the central figure receiving and leading around the high and mighty leaders of the world in an impeccable manner. Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette who had spearheaded the final ground work and ably chaired some of the meetings also received well-deserved exposure.

Participating Heads of State certainly benefited from building personal relationships with their counterparts, holding bilateral meetings and exploring areas of conversion between their natural interests and international concerns. No doubt, some benefited more than others, but that's how these meetings go. It was hoped that some Heads of State who had closed their countries to outside contact would have the opportunity of opening up at least to other Heads of State as a prelude to opening windows on the world. Incidentally, one colleague who observed world leaders making requests and demands wondered: To whom would they be submitting their requests when they themselves are the decision-makers. In fact, the objective was to draw a consensus declaration whose importance is mainly in the level of those who sign it. Thus, international legitimacy also benefited from a generally acceptable framework for the future.