Copenhagen, Denmark

4 July 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at the opening of UN-City in Copenhagen (as prepared for delivery)

I am delighted to join with all of you for the official opening of this magnificent new home for the United Nations in Denmark.

I thank the Government and people of Denmark for their generous investment and longstanding support. 

This beautiful and inspiring complex is a concrete symbol of your commitment to the United Nations.  And it is an important contribution towards a more efficient, carbon-neutral UN.

Addressing climate change is a responsibility for all, and I am determined that the UN should walk the walk.

In New York, the Capital Master Plan renovations will reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent.

The new additions to the UN Headquarters in Nairobi are an example of eco-friendly architecture fitted to the local environment.

And throughout the UN system, from peacekeeping to paper saving, we are working on Greening the Blue.

This building is – quite literally – a shining example.

In 2011, I had the honour of opening the UNICEF warehouse at Campus 2.

Today I am privileged to witness the culmination of your vision of a cutting-edge environmentally friendly hub for UN operations.

As I look up at this stunning staircase, and when I walk through these light-filled corridors and spacious meeting rooms and halls, I cannot help but feel my spirit lifted. 

From the rows of parked bicycles to the wind turbines out to sea, I see proof that we can tackle the climate challenges that face us.

From solar panels to seawater cooling and external metal blinds to regulate light and heat, UN City shows what can be achieved.

Estimated energy consumption will be cut by more than half.

UN City is an example of how modern, energy-efficient offices can play their part in building the future we want.

But it is what happens inside these buildings --  and the change it can make around the world -- that is most important.

Once complete, UN City will house around 1,200 personnel from eight UN organizations providing support to crucial humanitarian, peacebuilding and development operations around the world. 

Bringing so many UN organizations together in one location allows for shared logistics, administration, networking and collegiality -- enhancing cooperation and ability to ‘Deliver as One’.

The work done here makes a real difference to the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

Denmark should be rightly proud of its contribution.

Denmark is also one of a handful of countries to meet the United Nations target of devoting at least 0.7 per cent of gross national income to official development assistance.

Indeed Denmark has met and often exceeded that target for an incredible 35 years!  That's since 1978 -- the year when Anker Jorgensen led a grand coalition as Prime Minister, and when Jimmy Carter brokered Middle East Peace with the Camp David Accords.  Just to give you some perspective, 1978 was also the year when the world music charts were topped by the Bee Gees with "Stayin' Alive", ABBA with "Take a Chance on Me", and John Travolta and Olivia Newton John with "You're the One that I Want." 

Now, after 35 years of Danish leadership helping children around the world not only "stay alive" but also thrive, I am proud to say that Denmark has always been a partner worth "taking a chance on", and you are, most certainly, "the one that we want"!

Simply put, Denmark delivers.

UN City is one more example.

This is a place where very good things are happening, and where even more can and will be done.

This year Denmark is celebrating the bicentennial of the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.

Kierkegaard said , and I quote:

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential -- for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.”

End of quote.

This new campus, and the activities happening at it, show the world what is possible.

I thank the government and people of Denmark for this outstanding investment in the United Nations – and in humanity.

Thank you.