|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Out Development Priorities for Implementation by 2015
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the “End Poverty Call to Action” event in Washington, D.C., today:
Thank you, President [Jim Yong] Kim for your very kind introduction. In fact, I am the second most famous Korean in Korea, only next to Psy.
Hello, everyone. It is a great pleasure to see you. What a vibrant and amazing crowd. You give me energy; I am fully energized today. You give me hope that together with you, the United Nations and the World Bank and all of us can end extreme poverty from this Earth, to save everybody and to leave nobody behind.
That is our priority and vision. I know that your generation can break this vicious cycle of extreme poverty, and I count on your strong engagement and leadership. I know your legacy will be shared prosperity, social justice and carrying this only one planet Earth, a sustainable and hospitable Earth for all of us. I think we can do it. That is our priority and vision.
I am very inspired by all previous speakers — by their strong vision and engagement — and I am also grateful for your engagement and participation, and working together with the United Nations. That is our moral and political responsibility at this time.
Half of the global population is under the age of 25. This world is very young. The world’s leaders should do much more for you, your generation. I am very committed. That is why, for the first time in UN history, I have appointed a Special Envoy who will work for youth, Ahmed Alhendawi. He is my Special Envoy.
Now, he cannot do it because he is also young. You are not empowered. My expectation is that you should be empowered. Whenever I meet world leaders I am telling them, consistently: look, listen carefully and attentively to the voices of your people — particularly young people, women and vulnerable groups — what their aspirations and what their challenges are.
I am asking you to speak up. Make your voices be heard by the leaders. That is what I urge both world leaders and the leaders of tomorrow. It is often said that you are the leaders of tomorrow. But you have already become the leaders of today. When the Arab Spring began three years ago, it was mostly young people and women who went to the street, shouting for more participatory democracy, equal opportunity, social and political. It is evident that we have to do more.
The United Nations has been listening to your voices. We have been listening and surveying people [from all regions and backgrounds.]. We found that your aspirations, your wish, is for education — quality education — decent job opportunities and social, political and economic opportunities.
Like every one of us, my aim, my priority, is that nobody should be left behind. We can do it. The United Nations at this time has three priorities.
We must accelerate the Millennium Development Goals. This we started together 14 years ago at the start of the new millennium, this century. Second, define the post-2015 development agenda for sustainable development. Everybody should be put on a sustainable path, where everybody can have a life of dignity. Thirdly, we have to fight climate change. Climate change is fast approaching, much, much faster than expected. I have been recently to Greenland, standing on the Arctic ice, and observing for myself the melting glaciers. I have sent out strong alarm bells.
Those three things we must all achieve by the end of next year. By 2030, when leaders will announce their visions for humanity, there should be absolutely nobody who is hungry. We have to eliminate abject poverty; all school-age children should have quality education; we have to reduce significantly the number of unnecessary deaths, particularly women who are dying needlessly to give new lives.
Those are our priorities. We are working very hard to help get to a sustainable path. The sustainable development goals should be universal, concise, concrete and easy to communicate with all the people.
I am committed, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, and I work very closely with the World Bank President. We are one team. We are all one.
Let us make this world better for all, where everybody can enjoy a dignified life.
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