New York, 22 August 2011 - Remarks at the Opening of Yonhap International Press Photo Awards and Exhibit "Share the Moment, Share the Future"Your Excellency Mr. Kim Sook, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Mr. Kim Young-mok, Republic of Korea Consul-General,
Mr. Tom Curley, President and CEO of the Associated Press,
Ms. Kathy Calvin, President of the UN Foundation,
Mr. Park Jung-chan, President and CEO of Yonhap News Agency,
Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Public Information,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I'd like to thank all of you for taking part in this very meaningful exhibition, despite your very busy schedules.
Congratulations on the opening of this exhibit on the Millennium Development Goals. I especially want to congratulate all of the winners. And I want to thank you for raising awareness about these critical, life-saving Goals.
Just two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the opening in Seoul. I was deeply moved and inspired by these powerful and haunting images.
I was also inspired by the people behind the lens ? the courageous photographers who risked their own safety in order to tell the world these compelling stories.
We are honoured to have with us Emilio Morenatti. He was wounded in war ? but he never stopped showing the world how urgently we need peace. I welcome him and all the other winners. Thank you for your work.
I am pleased that this exhibit will travel the world. Wherever it goes, people will see why the MDGs are so important. To end poverty, hunger and illness – to expand opportunity, equality and hope.
Time is running out on our 2015 deadline. Now is the moment to sprint to the finish. Now is the time for all partners to come together, including the private sector, civil society and governments, philanthropists, .and community leaders.
That is why I am so grateful to the Yonhap News Agency of Korea for using the power of photojournalism to push for progress.
It is remarkable that 55,000 photos were submitted from more than 70 countries around the world. That alone raised awareness.
But this exhibition is raising more than awareness. All profits are going to be donated directly to international relief activities.
These winning images have universal value. They communicate immediately and equally to all people.
Last month in Geneva, I launched a report on progress so far. The poverty rate is declining. Education is improving. We are making headway in our battle against disease.
But we have a long way to go. Too many mothers still die in childbirth. Too many children still die before their fifth birthday. Too many people – nearly a billion – still go to bed hungry every night. Even today.
Some people say that we can never achieve the MDGs by 2015. I strongly reject this notion, this passivity and pessimism. With strong political will from the leaders and with reasonable financial support, and with action by all partners, I'm convinced that this goal can be met and that it must be met by our commitment. That is why we are gathered here.
I will continue to carry this message through next June's Rio+20 Summit and beyond.
And I ask all of you to do the same.
When I first toured the exhibit in Seoul, I was inspired again to work even harder to reach the MDGs. I know you will leave here today with a renewed determination to work together with the United Nations to meet the challenge of the MDGs.
The images may make you angry ? or sad, or frustrated. But above all they should make you resolve to end this suffering and reach our Goals for the future that we all share. Let us work together to make this world a better one.
I thank you for your commitment and leadership and I really appreciate Yonhap News Agency for this fine initiative. Thank you again.
Statements on 22 August 2011