6 September 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sustainable Societies Need Responsive Citizens, Secretary-General Says


in Message to Sixty-Fourth Annual DPI/NGO Conference


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the sixty-fourth annual Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental organization (NGO) Conference in Bonn on 3 September:

Mayor [Jürgen] Nimptsch, distinguished guests and delegates, thank you for taking part in this year’s United Nations DPI/NGO Conference.  And I also want to thank the City of Bonn for hosting.

You have chosen an important and timely theme.  Voluntary action is one of the highest expressions of our common humanity.  Sustainable societies need responsive citizens.

This year we have seen how individuals can make a difference by uniting through social networks and working for change.  We need to harness the same energy in the service of the planet that sustains us.  Next year world leaders will meet for the “ Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Science tells us we are contributing to dangerous climate change.  We are exhausting the capacity of our planet to guarantee our sustainable future.  The solution lies in a fundamental transformation of our consumption patterns and lifestyles.  We must create a sustainable green economy that will protect the environment and help us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Such change will not occur overnight.  And it will not be possible without the involvement of all sectors of society.  Your voices, your actions, and your grass-roots organization can help to move us closer to our goals.

Each one of you, individually and collectively, has an important role to play.  We need your networks and your best ideas.  I count on you to commit, encourage and volunteer.  And I thank you for coming together to do just that.

I wish you a productive meeting.

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For information media • not an official record