Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “Voices of Children" event with Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, in New York today:
I am pleased to be here today to help UNICEF bring the voices of young people to the forefront of this new development era. I thank David Beckham for his longstanding commitment to UNICEF and his work for children and youth.
For the past 15 years, the eight Millennium Development Goals have driven our ambition to build a better world. By setting clear targets, we have helped improve the lives of millions of people, both young and old.
With the targets outlined in the sustainable development goals, the world is lifting the level of ambition. The new global goals put people, especially children and young people, at the centre of development.
They prioritize human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice. They promote respect for the human rights of all people. The goals speak to all people in all countries, calling for action from everyone everywhere.
Tomorrow, these goals will be adopted. This is the first step in this paradigm shift. The second step is listening to the people that these goals aim to benefit, especially children and the young people.
That is why this “Assembly of Youth” project is so important. It gives young people a new channel to express their concerns and their ideas for the future.
We live in a world where economic, social and environmental challenges cannot be separated. Our solutions must also be linked.
The 2030 development agenda breaks new ground in how it links peace and security to sustainable development. It connects development to more accountable institutions and greater access to justice. It focuses on the root causes of our most difficult challenges — from extreme poverty to chronic conflict. It recognizes the power of partnership to achieve all our goals. And it makes equity a priority. It recognizes the rising costs of inequality in our world — and the benefits of targeting the most vulnerable and marginalized.
Creating a life of dignity for all means we cannot leave anyone behind. All of us have a stake in the global goals, especially young people. They will live tomorrow in a world that will be shaped by the actions we take together now.
I thank UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake and David Beckham for inspiring so many others to join us on this journey towards a better future — for people, for prosperity, for peace, and for our shared planet. Let us act with ambition and commitment to reach that destination.