New York

08 May 2013

Secretary-General's remarks to the High-Level Event on Human Security

Welcome to this High-level Event on Human Security. I thank you allyou’re your participation.

Let me extend a warm “welcome back” to our former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Madame [Sadako] Ogata. She left a valuable legacy here at the United Nations, and has continued to advance our goals ever since.  It is also good to see Mr. [Surin] Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of the ASEAN, with whom I had the pleasure of working very closely.  We value his contribution to promoting ASEAN-UN cooperation.  And we also warmly welcome Mme. [Sonia] Picado and thank you for your many contributions to promoting United Nations values around the world.  Again, thankyou very much.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We meet at a time of great turmoil and transition. The global economy is in crisis. The environment is under threat. Too many people around the world live in uncertainty. Old conflicts simmer. New conflicts explode. Warring parties target civilians. Violence is a problem even in peaceful countries. Women and girls are especially at risk.

These are serious problems – but there are signs of progress. I welcome growing calls by citizens around the world – especially young people – for justice, dignity and true democracy. These voices give us hope that we can transform our challenges into prospects for a better future.

We have learned two lessons from the dramatic events of recent years.

First: It is more important than ever to find comprehensive solutions to the world’s interlinked problems. You cannot end poverty without empowering women and girls. You cannot establish lasting peace without respect for human rights. You cannot increase prosperity or address climate change without transforming the world’s energy systems. We have to advance on all fronts.

Second: Our comprehensive approach must also be broad-based. We need traditional partners, like governments and non-governmental organizations. But we also need academics, businesses, philanthropists and others to help end poverty, promote development and establish peace.

The human security approach can help frame our efforts. I welcome the General Assembly’s adoption of its first-ever resolution on a common understanding of human security last September.  I commend the leadership of co-Facilitators Jordan and Japan.

This consensus builds on more than a decade of successful projects backed by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security.

I thank the Government of Japan for its generous and steadfast support to the Trust Fund, as well as Slovenia, Thailand, Mexico, Greece and other countries which contribute. I invite other donors to join them.

I also appreciate the steadfast support of a group of countries belonging to the Human Security Network, currently chaired by Chile.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

The human security approach recognizes the links between peace, development and human rights.

The Fund’s projects have enabled communities around the world to make the transition towards peace and sustainable development.

They have succeeded because they focus on people’s needs. They draw on experts from different disciplines and different agencies. They transcend what we might think of as traditional humanitarian or development work.

The goal is always to empower people, bring different actors together and generate holistic responses to complex challenges. 

We are now working to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals while preparing a post-2015 development agenda. In all these efforts, we must consider human security as a central factor. 

The new General Assembly resolution provides the basis for adopting a human security approach across the United Nations system.

I count on your ideas, your wisdom and your energy to carry this forward.

Thank you very much.