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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Deputy Secretary-General: Statements

New York, 14 April 2011 - Deputy Secretary-General's Remarks to the General Assembly Informal Thematic Debate on Human Security

President of the General Assembly,[Joseph] Deiss, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the General Assembly President for convening this debate.

Just over a year ago, the Secretary-General issued a report emphasizing that human security offers a practical approach for addressing the complex and multidimensional insecurities facing peoples and communities in today's interconnected world.

At the World Summit in 2005, leaders from around the world agreed that human security concerns both “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want.”

Since then, Member States have offered valuable insights and contributions. And last year, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing the need to continue discussions and agree on a definition.

Today's debate and panel discussion can bring us closer to that goal.

Fortunately, our discussions aimed at getting a precise fix on what human security is – and is not – have not hampered practical efforts to bring the vision to life.

The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, in its over a decade of existence, has supported nearly 200 projects in some 70 countries around the world.

The entire United Nations is responding to insecurities we see reflected every day in the headlines ? from devastating natural disasters to entrenched poverty ? from outbreaks of conflict to the spread of disease.

The dramatic events of recent weeks have underscored the vulnerability of developed and developing countries alike. Threats can be sudden and unpredictable ? or they can be protracted and unyielding.

That is why we need an expanded paradigm of security that encompasses a broad range of conditions threatening the survival, livelihoods and dignity of individuals

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The late Mahbub ul Haq pioneered thinking in this area, including through the groundbreaking Human Development Report.

The value of Dr. Haq's work has been borne out many times over, most recently in the Arab Human Development Reports issued over the past decade. Their focus on youth, jobs and the democracy deficit offers valuable lessons today for North Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

His great legacy includes this comment on the subject that has brought us together today: “In the last analysis,” he said, “human security is a child who did not die, a disease that did not spread, an ethnic tension that did not explode, a dissident who was not silenced, a human spirit that was not crushed.”

Let that thought guide our discussions on human security and our efforts to make a meaningful difference in people's lives.

Thank you.

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