New York

24 September 2014

Secretary-General's toast at lunch for Heads of State and Government [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency President Barack Obama of the United States of America,

Thank you for your leadership and strong support for the United Nations.  I would like to express my great appreciation to the United States and New York City for continuing to be such wonderful hosts to the world Organization.

Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies,

Let me thank you again for supporting the renovation of UN Headquarters.  We have preserved its unique architectural heritage while creating a fully modern, environmentally friendly complex for the future.

Now that we have finished the Capital Master Plan, there is a lot of debate about what to do with the North Lawn Building.  Some have suggested a basketball court. I won't name names!


You have come to the United Nations at a time of trouble and turmoil.

I thank you for taking the climate challenge so seriously at yesterday’s landmark Summit.

At a time when we face so many urgent crises, I am very encouraged that you are also taking a long-term view.  You are focusing not only on climate, but also on jobs, health, education, governance – the true pillars of security and prosperity.

People across the world are taking to the streets, demanding a more sustainable future. 
I joined them for the climate march this past Sunday – and I am committed to bringing their voices, the power of the people, into the United Nations.

You, too, have a responsibility to march -- and walk the hard road that goes beyond news cycles or business cycles or even election cycles.

When it comes to protecting the planet, we must not do unto future generations what has already been done to ours.

And when it comes to building a better future, you have the power to make that difference.

In that spirit, please join me in a toast.  Let us summon the wisdom and courage to march towards the safe and prosperous world we know can be ours.

Thank you.