Tag Archives: UN Secretary-General’s Message

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on International Youth Day 2016

featured-image-sgmessageThe world’s young people – who make up the largest generation of youth in history – can lead a global drive to break the patterns of the past and set the world on course to a more sustainable future. Young people are directly affected by the tragic contradictions that prevail today: between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth, gnawing hunger and shameful food waste, rich natural resources and polluting industries. Youth can deliver solutions on these issues, which lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In this first year of that15-year plan for a healthier, safer and more just future, we count on the active engagement of the world’s young people to transform the production and consumption of goods and services so they meet the basic needs and aspirations of the world’s poorest people without overburdening already strained ecosystems. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General’s Message for the International Day of Friendship – 30 July 2016

featured-image-indexPoverty, violence, human rights abuses and other major problems on the global agenda have in common a failure to respect fundamental norms and values developed over millennia. When greed supersedes concerns about the health of our planet or its inhabitants, when fanatic attachment to ideology is pursued at all costs, and when people suffer human rights violations because they are considered somehow less than equal, the heritage of humanity is betrayed and our future wellbeing is placed in peril.

In confronting these crises, we must address their roots by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity. On a global level, this can manifest in many ways, from international assistance to political advocacy. And on an individual level, it can take the simple and timeless form of friendship. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on International Day of Yoga: 21 June 2016

1Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India and is now practiced in various forms around the world. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. It promotes harmony among people, and between ourselves and the natural world. Recognizing its universal appeal, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on World Refugee Day: 20 June 2016

featured-image-indexForced displacement has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 65 million people uprooted from their homes globally. New and recurring conflicts, and ever-more disturbing forms of violence and persecution, are driving people to flee in search of safety within their own countries, or to cross international borders as asylum seekers or refugees. Others are living in long-term exile, as solutions to protracted conflicts remain elusive. At the end of 2015, there were 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million people in the process of seeking asylum, and 40.8 million people internally displaced within their own countries.

World Refugee Day is a moment for taking stock of the devastating impact of war and persecution on the lives of those forced to flee, and honouring their courage and resilience. It is also a moment for paying tribute to the communities and States that receive and host them, often in remote border regions affected by poverty, instability and underdevelopment, and beyond the gaze of international attention. Nine out of ten refugees are today living in poor and middle income countries close to situations of conflict. Continue reading

Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife: UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon’s Message on World Environment Day

featured-image-index       5 June 2016: This year’s observance of World Environment Day shines a much-needed spotlight on the illegal trade in wildlife.  There is grave cause for alarm.  Elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory, rhinos for their horns, and pangolins for their scales.  From sea turtles to tigers to rosewood, thousands of species of wild animals and plants are being driven ever closer to extinction.  The businesses and individuals involved are motivated solely by short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit to communities and habitats.  In many instances, they act in collusion with transnational organized crime networks and groups actively involved in destabilizing nations. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on World Autism Awareness Day, 2 April 2016

Participants at the UN General Assembly special event on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day: ‘Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity.’ UN Photo/Rick BajornasThe international community is now embarking on the challenge of realizing the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The equal participation and active involvement of persons with autism will be essential for achieving the inclusive societies envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals.

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects millions of people worldwide.  It is not well-understood in many countries, and too many societies shun people with autism.

This is a violation of human rights and a waste of human potential. I have seen the dynamism and commitment of persons with autism. Earlier this year, I was honoured to engage in a dialogue with one such young man at United Nations Headquarters in New York. I was especially impressed by his innovative approach to the issue of how we can reach the SDGs. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015

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Amid large-scale atrocities and widespread abuses across the world, Human Rights Day should rally more concerted global action to promote the timeless principles that we have collectively pledged to uphold.

In a year that marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, we can draw inspiration from the history of the modern human rights movement, which emerged from the Second World War.

At that time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States identified four basic freedoms as the birthright of all people: freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.  His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, joined forces at the United Nations with human rights champions from around the world to enshrine these freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on United Nations Day, 24 October 2015

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National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world.  But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.

That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.
Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.
Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry and shelters those driven from their homes. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Message on International Youth Day, 12 August 2015

173378Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people. No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.

As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before. Continue reading