|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, at Reception Honouring New York, Says He Will Urge Government
Heads to Take Inspiration from Mayor’s Effective, Visionary Leadership
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at a reception to honour New York as host city to the diplomatic and consular community on 9 September:
I am honoured to join you tonight to honour New York as host city to the diplomatic and consular community.
New York City is an ideal home for the United Nations. It is vibrant and cosmopolitan. It is home to a wonderful mosaic of people. And of course, there is plenty of parking.
We are grateful for your hospitality, especially at this time of year, when world leaders clog the streets and test the patience of many New Yorkers. I commend the Mayor and the city authorities for making sure the General Assembly session runs so smoothly each year. And I particularly thank the New York Police and Fire Departments for their excellent cooperation throughout the year.
Tonight is also an opportunity to pay tribute to Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg as his tenure enters its final months. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your unstinting support and outstanding global citizenship.
Before you became Mayor, you said there were three other jobs you would love: President of the United States, President of the World Bank … and Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Well, you already have extensive experience. I work for peace among countries. You have to make peace on the City Council. I deal with officials of all nations. You lead people of all nationalities. I am the Secretary-General who doesn’t sleep. You lead the city that never sleeps. We both cut ribbons … and we both slash red tape.
Mr. Mayor, I know you plan to make the most of the next 113 days, according to your clock down at City Hall. The United Nations has a countdown of its own: 843 days until the end of 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We at the United Nations want to thank you for everything you have done to help us in that campaign. As a philanthropist, environmentalist and advocate for public health, you have helped to advance the work of the United Nations.
At home, your policies are improving the health of New Yorkers. Globally, you are making an impact on maternal health and reproductive rights in [the United Republic of] Tanzania and so many other places through your generous support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
You are standing side by side with us in the fight against climate change. You addressed the Special Summit meeting on climate change in 2008. You are cutting the city’s carbon footprint and advocating for action by your fellow mayors across the United States and around the world. And you have provided key support in greening the United Nations complex. We are well down the road on the renovation of UN Headquarters.
Through the Capital Master Plan (CMP) we have reduced energy and water consumption by 50 per cent and carbon production by more than 40 per cent; 95 per cent of the construction debris has been recycled and diverted from landfills.
We could not have achieved such results without the support of the city, and Commissioner [Marjorie] Tiven in particular. I think that is really why we called our project the CMP. It stands for “Call Marjorie Personally”. That way, we know we can get things done.
Getting things done effectively is essential in today’s evermore crowded and overheated world. Sustainable development is an imperative. Visionary leadership is at a premium. Later this month, I will call for such leadership from Heads of State and Government at the General Assembly. I hope they take inspiration from this great city and the example of Mayor Bloomberg.
* *** *For information media • not an official record