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

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 21 December 2010 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council "informal informal" Youth Session [as prepared for delivery]

Thank you, Ambassador Rice.

Listening to these young people, I felt very strongly that I could have been one of them.

I, too, grew up in war. I, too, saw my village destroyed.

The United Nations helped rebuild my country. It shaped my life. It defined who I am.

For my generation, the United Nations was a beacon of hope. It should be for this new generation as well.

Time is too short to answer all their complex questions. But there is one common denominator. That is development ? sustainable development.

With sustainable development, you won't have war over resources: water, energy, food.

[HOLD UP GLASS OF WATER]. Pretend this water is the world's military spending. To reach our development goals, we need the financial equivalent of just one sip.

[SIP WATER]. That's it.

Every year, the world spends $1.4 trillion dollars on weapons. With a fraction of that we could cut poverty, fund schools, provide health care, and protect the environment.

One year of global military spending could pay the UN's budget for 732 years.

Young people don't just want talk. At the recent climate change conference in Cancun, a seventeen-year old girl wore a t-shirt: “You have been negotiating my whole life – don't tell me you need more time.”

The message these young people send us today is very simple and direct.

Act. Deliver. Match words with deeds.

We have no shortage of crises before us. The Security Council must deliver – now. Not in some far-off future.

Thank you.


Statements on 21 December 2010