Mr. Thomas Gass Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

UNA China
Video message(in the Great Hall of the People)

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for the invitation to address this eminent gathering in the Great Hall of the People. It is a true honour for me. And while I am unable to join you in person, I am very pleased to send this message as you commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations … and the launching of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals was a historic moment in the 70 years of the United Nations. It brought the leaders and citizens of the world together to embark on a new path to improve the lives of people, everywhere.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a comprehensive and ground-breaking plan of action – a shared vision of humanity for transforming our society and our planet. They build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals … and they endeavour to leave no one behind.

The 17 Goals, with their 169 targets, put forward ambitious goals for all countries. They address – in an integrated way – the most fundamental economic, social and environmental challenges of our time. Never before have world leaders pledged common action across such a broad and universal policy agenda. Going forward, the engagement of the entire global community is required to implement them and secure a sustainable future.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Sustainable Development Goals will determine the next global course of action to end poverty … promote prosperity and well-being for all … and protect our one planet and its natural resources.

We know that such transformational change is possible. We know this because, no matter our differences, we are bound together in ways that reveal our common humanity … the universal desire to live a life free from want, and free from fear … a life marked by opportunity and dignity.

We must aim for nothing less.

Indeed, the process that facilitated this transformative agreement was inclusive on a historic scale. For the first time in its 70 years, the United Nations opened its policy-making process in unprecedented ways … to an unprecedented range of voices. This has established a new benchmark for dialogue and participation in the United Nations.

As leaders in your great country and in your communities, you are uniquely positioned now to translate this inclusive vision into policies and legislation … and into budgets.

You can help mobilise the needed support to implement this new Agenda … You can help turn it into a social contract between national and local leaders, and the people.

Indeed, achieving the Goals will require the solemn promise of all governments and decision-makers that this universal agenda is not just a new deal among nations … but a solemn promise to the people and children of this world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We can build even further momentum towards making this shared vision a reality, when Governments meet in Paris next month to adopt a meaningful … universal agreement on climate change. Your work in this endeavour is critically important, and greatly appreciated.

As we embark on this great collective journey, the one way forward – the only way forward — is through a common and persistent effort to meet these challenges, together.

As noted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, there can be no slowing down in this work. We cannot stop with an agreement on paper, important as that achievement is. Our responsibility is to use every day … every hour … every minute to make a difference.

I wish you a successful celebration.

Thank you.

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