Secretary-General Praises Dedicated Grass-Roots Advocacy by United Nations Association as ‘Heart and Soul of the UN’s Battle for Better World’

7 June 2010

Secretary-General Praises Dedicated Grass-Roots Advocacy by United Nations Association as ‘Heart and Soul of the UN’s Battle for Better World’

7 June 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Praises Dedicated Grass-Roots Advocacy by United Nations


Association as ‘Heart and Soul of the UN’s Battle for Better World’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the UNA-USA National Convention, as prepared for delivery, in Washington, D.C., 7 June:

I am delighted to be here.  I see many familiar faces.

Thank you, Ambassador Pickering, for your kind introduction — and for your leadership of the United Nations Association.  Your insight, your eloquence and your energy are legendary.

I would like to congratulate Ed Elmendorf on his new job as President of UNA-USA.  His long experience inside the UNA makes him an ideal choice to lead you during this exciting new phase of your work.

And thank you, to all of you, members of UNA-USA.  You are the heart and soul of the United Nations battle for a better world.

With little fanfare but great dedication, you advocate for United Nations values and causes.

You bring the United Nations global work down to the local level across the country.

Thank you for your efforts to help Americans understand the role of the United Nations.  We need the United States to be fully engaged in our work.  You are helping to make that happen. 

I know many of you continue this advocacy in your work as community leaders, educators, and businesspeople.

You help us stay in touch with our roots… “We, the peoples”… the ordinary citizens we represent.

You help us to show them that the issues that matter to them are the same ones that matter to the international community.

-          Protecting our environment and combating climate change;

-          Making sure everyone has a fair chance, whatever their gender or background;

-          Making the world a safer place by fighting terrorism and eliminating the threat posed by nuclear weapons; 

-          Protecting the rule of law and human rights…

-          There is also the infinite desire of people to help their brothers and sisters in need.  We saw this most recently in America’s remarkable response to the earthquake in Haiti.  The enormous outpouring of support was a great testimony to the generosity and solidarity of the American people. 

You are where we need to be, to do our work, for the world public. 

And you make it clear to Americans that engaging with the world is in everyone’s interest.

Your work is paying dividends.

There is a renewed commitment to multilateral efforts… a better understanding of the need for international cooperation.  I can feel this, tangibly, at United Nations Headquarters in New York and around the world.

Last month’s NPT Review Conference ended successfully.

The International Criminal Court Review Conference under way in Uganda is continuing our efforts to put the era of impunity behind us, and to usher in an age of accountability for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Momentum is building for the Millennium Development Goals, and for the Millennium Development Goals Summit we will convene in September.

I have just come from the Women Deliver conference.  Maternal health has been one of the slowest-moving of the Millennium Development Goals.  But thanks to the hard work of activists and leaders around the world, this is about to change.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the World Bank, along with other world leaders from government, private sector, civil society and foundations, have all announced maternal and children’s health is a priority.  They are uniting under a common strategy, which we have developed — a Joint Action Plan for women’s and children’s health.

We are seeing new coalitions for peace, for development, for human rights.  The United Nations and its advocates can take pride in that.

You have also helped Congress better understand our role.  For the first time in years, the United States has largely cleared up its arrears, and is committed to paying its bills to the United Nations.  The Obama Administration is engaging across the board. 

There is so much we can do together. 

Let us take advantage of the momentum you have helped build. 

Let us work together on our shared, very important mission.

I wish you a successful annual meeting.

Now I am ready for your questions.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.