“You cannot stop migration, you can only manage it effectively.”
Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani and Mary Robinson took part in a live broadcast debate on BBC World to discuss some of the world's biggest issues, from Syria and Ukraine to migration and extremism.
Six Elders were in Moscow in late April to meet President Vladimir Putin and Russian officials to hear their approach to a variety of current geopolitical crises, in particular the situation in Ukraine.
While in Moscow last month on an Elders' visit, Kofi Annan shared with Kommersant’s Elena Chernenko his impressions of the meeting with President Putin, The Elders’ advice on achieving a settlement in Ukraine and the consequences of failing to reform the UN Security Council.
In the wake of Israel’s re-election of Benyamin Netanyahu in March, the Elders call for all players regional and international to re-examine the two-state solution and to redouble efforts to find a path to peace for Israel and Palestine.
"These four proposals... form an essential starting point for the UN to recover its authority. And we call on the world’s peoples to insist that their governments accept them."
Kofi Annan and Gro Harlem Brundtland call for the United Nations to be strengthened. Writing in an opinion piece published around the world, they outline four ways to make the organisation more effective.
"Fears can lead us to retreat behind barricades, turn our backs on those in need, and persecute those we see as a threat… We need to let our leaders know that if they have the courage to do the right thing, then we will support them"
"Another failure or further delay would sentence our world to a deeply worrying future."
Writing in the HuffPost Green, Kofi Annan and Ernesto Zedillo welcome commitments to cut emissions, but warn that the shift to a low-carbon economy will not happen without the accurate pricing of carbon.
In letters to West African leaders, Kofi Annan expresses his solidarity with the populations affected by Ebola, and calls on the global community to take a stronger response to control and reverse the disease.
"The task for leaders and citizens alike is to dare to follow his example."
Writing in the Financial Times, Kofi Annan argues that the most important lesson of Nelson Mandela's life is that each one of us – and not just visionary leaders – must play a role building just, equal societies.
Kofi Annan visited Côte d’Ivoire last month to assess the country’s progress since the post-election violence of 2010-11. While welcoming promising signs of economic recovery, he urged Ivorians to work together to build an inclusive future and prepare for peaceful elections in 2015.
Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel planned to travel to Zimbabwe in November 2008 in order to make a first-hand assessment of the humanitarian situation in the country. Following their refused entry into Zimbabwe, the Elders instead met leaders from politics, business, international organisations and civil society in Johannesburg, South Africa, many of whom travelled from Zimbabwe to see them.
You have to be open as a leader, willing to listen. A leader need not always be right; a good leader is also a good follower.
Former UN Secretary-General
I remain convinced that the United Nations belongs not only to the governments of its Member States but above all to their peoples, in whose name it was founded. That means that it must become more democratic by ensuring that all the world's peoples, and not only the richest and the most powerful, have a voice and also that those who make the decisions genuinely represent their peoples and are accountable to them.
International conflict mediator
Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national crises in another.
Advocate for Africa
If there is one area which, above all, will determine the direction of Africa’s future, it is the quality of its governance and leadership.
Kofi Annan biography
Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders; put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the United Nations agenda.
Chair of The Elders
United Nations Secretary-General 1997-2006
Initiated the Millennium Development Goals
Played a central role in the acceptance by Member States of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine
Nobel Peace Laureate (jointly with the UN) 2001
UN/Arab League Joint Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis 2012
Chair of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Myanmar 2016
"No one can deprive us of the right, as concerned global citizens, to want to do something about the challenges that face us."
Former President of Brazil; implemented major land reform programme, reduced poverty and significantly improved health and education; an acclaimed sociologist and global advocate for drug policy reform.
Former President of Chile; tenacious fighter for democracy and human rights; implemented health reform; and reduced economic inequality while diversifying Chile’s external trade in the era of globalisation.
The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.