25 April 2013

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

Hailing Campaign as ‘History in the Making’, Secretary-General Urges Worldwide

Partners to End Polio Forever in Message to Global Vaccine Summit


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, 25 April:

Your Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission


Mr. Bill Gates

Distinguished guests

There is no greater gift than a healthy start in life.

I know that all of you gathered in Abu Dhabi share my commitment to protecting children from diseases like polio, measles and tetanus.  Immunization is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent these diseases and safeguard young lives.

Today, we celebrate the fact that 80 per cent of all children — more than at any time in history — are immunized.  They are living and thriving.

But we are also grieving for the millions who are still left behind — simply because they live in poor, under-served, conflict-ridden or isolated communities.  We have reached four out of five children worldwide.  Now, it is time to reach that fifth child wherever he or she may be.  We must break down all barriers that stand in our way.

The global success so far in fighting polio shows how far we can advance. Our great progress came thanks to an international alliance of partners.  We came together:  Governments and health workers; the United Nations and other international organizations; civil society; and the private sector.

Today, we have a window of opportunity to end polio forever.  And, we have a greater appreciation for the power of partnerships.  This campaign is history in the making.  It is also clear proof that when we join forces, life-saving vaccines and primary health care can be delivered to those who desperately need them.

Because they lack a simple vaccination, millions of children are being denied their right to a healthy future.  Our challenge is to reach these children.  Let us pledge to summon the will and the resources to safeguard their future — and the future of their societies — which is our common future as well.

Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record