London

13 December 2019

The Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at Global Citizen Prize Ceremony [as prepared for delivery]

Thank you Chiwetel —your powerful presence on screen speaks to injustice and human dignity.
 
And thank you and others for the moving tribute.
 
Hello London and hello world! 
 
Working for the United Nations makes me a global citizen and a proud Nigerian. 
 
Everyday, I strive to serve humanity ensuring the voiceless can live a life of dignity.
 
However I would not be who I am today without the love and inspiration of my mum, Margaret Wilson and the great African women on who’s shoulders I stand – Graça Machel, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai and many more.
 
My journey has taught me that the only purpose of power is to serve with the courage of one’s conviction that all people of the world have rights that must be respected.
 
Today, our world is facing many crises - climate change; inequality, injustice and conflict, yet never have we had so much in our hands to make the world more peaceful and prosperous.
 
We even have a roadmap, the UN’s 2030 Agenda and our 17 Global Goals that aim to leave no one behind, especially our women and youth.
 
We have ten years to make them a reality and help transform our world.
 
Success depends on all of us and it can’t be business as usual.  
 
The “status quo” is no longer acceptable.
 
We leaders at all levels, in all constituencies must embrace the new era of change and deliver for people and for planet.
 
We must do that now. 
 
I am humbled to accept this award, working for the UN and the world we want.
 
Thank you, Global Citizens! 
 
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And a special thanks to all of our partners and Global Goals champions in the audience tonight. 
 
Richard Curtis, Sting, Hamdi Ulukaya – you rock this world with your brilliance.   
 
Hugh Evans and the wonderful team at Global Citizen, and the Global Citizen community, thank you for working towards these Global Goals. 
 
Your voice goes beyond advocacy. It helps us secure concrete results and demonstrate what we can achieve when we work together. 
 
Chris Martin, John Legend, Chiwetel and all the other artists here tonight: your creativity lifts us to greater heights.    
 
My dear family and friends: thanks for your support every moment of every day. 
 
My UN team here, in New York and around the world: thanks for everything you do.
 
And to all of you, global citizens one and all – the Global Goals and the world are counting on you. 
 
Let’s do this together.
 
Global Citizens! Yes, that is all of you...are you ready to lift the world?  
 
Are you ready to lift the world?
 
Thank you