It is my pleasure to be with you for the 2013 UN 21 Awards.
I always think of the opening of the General Assembly as the United Nations’ very own New Year’s day.
Such a new beginning invites us to look back at what we have achieved over the past twelve months and reaffirm our resolve for the coming year.
It is also a fitting time for us to recognize the hard work of staff members around the world.
Few may fully appreciate how much change goes on within the United Nations as a matter of course. The UN 21 Awards help us recognize some of the best of these innovative efforts to enhance the way we do business at the United Nations.
With today’s ceremony, we are marking 17 years of this proud tradition.
As the name of the Awards suggests, our objective is to honour staff members and initiatives that help to strengthen the United Nations in the 21st Century.
We strive to share good practices and explore creative ways of fulfilling our responsibilities more effectively.
The Awards focus on five categories:
• Efficiency – which is essential in a time of scarce resources.
• Knowledge management – to harness the experience and expertise throughout the system.
• Communication – to best tell the story of our work in meaningful and engaging ways to people around the world.
• Greening -- to preserve the environment and help ensure that our operations act in a responsible and sustainable manner.
• And, finally, staff volunteerism -- initiatives that take our shared values beyond the workplace.
I am certain that you will be as impressed as I am when you learn more about the nominated projects and the finalists that are competing for the awards here today.
We received a record number of 100 nominations in our friendly competition, reminding us once again of the versatility of this Organization.
In the dynamic environments in which we work, it is important for us to continuously re-evaluate and update our methods.
This year’s awards help show that the United Nations is an Organization that is ready and willing to adapt to new technologies, demands and ways of doing our work.
Congratulations to all of you on this achievement. Let us continue our important work to build a strong and responsive United Nations tuned to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.