Secretary-General's Message for 2016

Poverty, violence, human rights abuses and other major problems on the global agenda have in common a failure to respect fundamental norms and values developed over millennia. When greed supersedes concerns about the health of our planet or its inhabitants, when fanatic attachment to ideology is pursued at all costs, and when people suffer human rights violations because they are considered somehow less than equal, the heritage of humanity is betrayed and our future wellbeing is placed in peril.

In confronting these crises, we must address their roots by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity. On a global level, this can manifest in many ways, from international assistance to political advocacy. And on an individual level, it can take the simple and timeless form of friendship.

Friendship is a joy in itself, conferring happiness and a sense of wellbeing. And the accumulation of bonds of camaraderie around the world can contribute to fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability.

The forces of division that actively try to undermine peace, security and social harmony are no match for the simple but powerful act of extending a hand in our own personal circles and especially beyond. Ties of trust can weave a safety net that will protect us all. As understanding and awareness grow, we can build compassion and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.

On this International Day of Friendship, let us resolve to cherish and cultivate as many warm relationships as possible, enriching our own lives and enhancing the future.

Ban Ki-moon