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Staff writer Some of the world’s leading experts on development, security, governance and the environment will meet in Tokyo in mid-January for an international conference on the role the U.N. will play in the 21st century. According to a provisional program, the Millennium Conference will be held for three days beginning Jan. 19 and sponsored by U.N. University. Deputy U.N. Secretary General Louise Frechette will deliver the keynote speech on the first day. The conference theme will be “On the Threshold: The United Nations and Global Governance in the New Millennium.” U.N. University is expected to announce the event as early as next week. “Every historical juncture provides an occasion to review and reassess the values and institutions that we use to organize human life,” the provisional English program says. “The beginning of a new millennium presents an extraordinary opportunity to consider creative, innovative solutions to the challenges that confront all of us. “The success of the United Nations, as it faces an even more complex and demanding environment, could well depend upon its ability to embrace fresh thinking and realistic reforms,” it says. “This landmark conference will take stock of key international trends for peace, the environment, development and governance, and consider their implications for the United Nations in the 21st century. “It will provide a forum for eminent scientists and authorities from around the world to engage in a broad and substantive dialogue on the major challenges that exist now and lie ahead,” it says.Conclusions made at the conference will also be reflected in broader U.N. policy discussions preceding the so-called millennium general assembly session of the international body to be held in New York next autumn, according to the program. “At the turn of the millennium,” the program says, “this conference will tie together the worlds of ideas and policy. It will begin with the conviction that academic and policy debates must be integrated if they are to be translated into feasible and relevant options.” Conference participants will deal with such topics as “the impact of globalization,” “key challenges in the short and medium terms” and “the manner in which national governments and the international community might more broadly address the challenges.” They will also discuss “the comparative advantage that the U.N. has, or might have, in working with the international community in addressing the challenges” and “a potential for partnership among states, international organizations, commercial organizations and civil society actors in collectively addressing these challenges.”

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