28 October 2011

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

Secretary-General, in Remarks at UN Day Concert, Urges Pledge of Unity,


‘Seven Billion Strong’, for Global Common Good


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the United Nations Day concert in New York on 27 October:

I thank the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations for organizing this UN Day concert.  I especially welcome your chosen theme — “Cultural diversity”.

I had the immense pleasure of experiencing Mongolia’s culture when I visited two years ago.  I stayed overnight in a ger, the one-room tent that herders share with their families.  I named a newborn takhi, an endangered species of wild horse.  I called it “Peace” or Enkhtaivan in Mongolian.  And I enjoyed an evening of traditional entertainment such as we will enjoy tonight.

In our increasingly interconnected world, we have endless opportunities for such exchanges — for learning about and interacting with other cultures and traditions.  Yet those same networks that allow us to come together also offer a too-convenient avenue for dividing us through the poison of short-sighted hatred.

Our challenge, as individuals, as nations, as a human family, is to build a more just, tolerant and inclusive world.  We all have something to give and something to gain by appreciating each other’s diversity and working together in common cause.

Days from now, the human family will welcome its 7 billionth member.  Some say our planet is too crowded.  I say we are 7 billion strong.  But we will only be able to use that strength for the benefit of all if our societies are built on mutual respect and understanding.

The world has made remarkable progress since the United Nations was born 66 years ago today.  We are living longer.  More of our children survive.  More and more of us live at peace, under democratic rule of law.

Yet we cannot take this progress for granted.  It is under threat from climate change, economic crisis, joblessness, inequality and intolerance.  Around the world, too many people live in fear.  Too many people believe their Governments and the global economy can no longer deliver for them.

In these turbulent times, there is only one answer: unity of purpose.  Global problems demand global solutions.  They compel all nations to unite in action on an agenda for the world’s people.

That is the very mission of the United Nations: to build a better world; to leave no one behind; to stand for the poorest and most vulnerable in the name of global peace and social justice.

On this special day, let us pledge to unite, 7 billion strong, in the name of the global common good.

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For information media • not an official record