World Humanitarian Day

Remarks by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly at World Humanitarian Day

19 August 2016 


Mr Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Under Secretary-General, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to join in this remarkable event.

This Assembly is famous for long speeches but mine will not be one of them.

Because tonight is not about the words of world leaders, it is about those who risk it all in the face of incredible adversity and those who give their all, for the sake of the humanitarian cause.

Looking around, however, I am reminded of commitments made by world leaders in this Hall almost one year ago.

Last September, they agreed on 17 goals to transform our world – to end poverty; tackle climate change; promote justice; and leave no-one behind.

Yet, if we are to stand a chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, then our leaders must finally address today’s massive humanitarian crisis.

They must start by finding the humanity within to reject division and welcome refugees;

To plug the financing gaps and protect the humanitarian space.

To respect the laws of war and compromise for peace.

On this World Humanitarian Day, let us demand that our leaders show just some of the courage displayed by those affected by the current crisis; and work together to save lives and advance the Agenda for Humanity.


I would now like to introduce to you, the Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator of UN OCHA, Mr. Stephen O’Brien.

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