Source: United Nations Development Programme 2
On 24 October, we mark United Nations Day.
It is a day to celebrate the achievements of the United Nations as it turns 75, from closing a giant hole in the ozone layer, to preventing nuclear proliferation, to eradicating smallpox.
And it is a day to celebrate the people who made such achievements possible.
That includes you. Because we are all the peoples of the United Nations.
At the end of the Second World War, humanity saw how isolation and nationalism had bred the worst in us and decided to make a change.
The UN Charter was born, and with it, a determination to work together to solve the problems of people and planet.
Today, three-quarters of a century later, we stand at the edge of an opportunity we must seize.
COVID-19 has shaken the world, exposing what makes us vulnerable.
Its most perilous legacy may be yet to come: global extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in over 20 years.
But the pandemic has also exposed the urgency of opportunity.
This is a tipping point.
We’ve had a glimpse of what a sustainable future could look like.
As human activity slowed down, some cities reduced air pollution by as much as 60%.
From Nairobi, people could see the majestic snow-capped Mount Kenya for the first time in years.
In January, in preparation for UN at 75, we asked the world the future they wanted.
Over 1 million people took part and the message is loud and clear:
People want a future that is green, fair and just, where they can go to school, get a good job, live lives they value in peace, with hope for their future.
People want a world where we stand up for each other, and for the freedom and rights of every person.
Nations united, not untied.
I’m inspired by how young people are driving forward change, on the streets, in their communities and classrooms.
They are writing the next chapter for people and planet – the next 75 years.
And with each word they write, the future we want becomes more possible. A future that we must fight for together.
Thank you for joining us on this occasion.