Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.


New York, 31 October 2011


His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Dr. Babtunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.
Ms Slagjana Sokolova
Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we mark an historic milestone in human development: we are now 7 billion people living on this planet.

7 billions lives that depend on us – on governments, civil society, the private sector, on the international community at large – to ensure their development and protect and promote their human rights.

This milestone is a stark reminder of how many among us – the bottom billion - are rendered vulnerable with little or no access to basic needs.

7 billion people face, almost on a daily basis - with varying degrees of severity – the consequences of environmental challenges, increasing poverty, inequity, wars and economic instability.

But with each of these challenges comes an opportunity – 7 billion opportunities in fact.

An opportunity to come together and provide where there is need;

To reach the goals of the MDGs;

To rethink our approach to sustainable development, in the face of more pressure on our communities and on our environment;

To pool our collective capital - financial, moral and human- to replicate, adjust and realize where there are successful solutions;

To appreciate, recognize and share in the wealth of our diversity- knowing that discrimination and intolerance have no place in our world;

To invest in youth and in women, to develop their human capital;

To work together to ensure that national policies and international cooperation in the field of financing for development promote the creation of productive employment;

And to showcase the UN’s ability to deliver as one.

In harnessing these opportunities, we have at our fingertips the mechanisms and tools enshrined in the Charter, as well as the UN’s good offices, including UNFPA.

As President of the General Assembly, I attach great importance to sustainable development and global prosperity. I plan to focus the Assembly’s attention on this issue this session.

We know our world is a changing place. The reality of 7 billion people on our planet underscores our collective obligation to secure fundamental justice, equity and dignity for all.

Thank you.


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