New York

20 February 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at the Forum of Small States Lunar New Year Celebration [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency, Ambassador Karen Tan, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Gong Xi Fa Cai [“Happy New Year”].

I thank our hosts, Ambassador Tan and the Singapore Mission.

This is a wonderful New Year celebration especially for Singapore, which is turning 50.

As the SG of the UN, I am pleased that Singapore’s anniversary slogan is “SG50.” Congratulations on this milestone!

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish you all a happy and healthy Year of the Sheep.

Sheep are said to be wise, compassionate and gentle.

So are many members of the Forum of Small States.

As you know, 2014 was the Year of the Horse – and it was also the Year of Small Island Developing States.

The Samoa SIDS Conference in August was a great success. In November in Vienna, we pledged to address the concerns of landlocked developing countries. I attended both of those meetings to show that the UN backs their objectives at the highest level. Now the UN is mobilized to carry out their action plans.

2015 is an even more an important year. We are completing the Millennium Development Goals. We are creating a new, transformative agenda for sustainable development. And we must forge a new, universal and meaningful climate agreement.

I count on the Forum of Small States to make large contributions to these processes.

Next month, we will convene the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai. This is an important opportunity to build resilience especially in small states, which may be more vulnerable when disasters hit.

This year is also the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

Our organization was founded to advance collective security – a concept that small States especially can appreciate.

I count on all members of FOSS to help strengthen the United Nations for our common future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We just enjoyed a beautiful lion dance, which is traditional for the Chinese New Year.

I had the chance to “feed” the lions some cabbage from a pole. When the lion spit out the leaves, he symbolically gave us his blessing for a fortunate year.

In 2015, we will have to confront many difficult problems – the wars, diseases and poverty that exist today – and the urgent need to secure our long-term future.

Facing all of these challenges may feel like going straight into the mouth of a lion.

But when we bring our best energy to the task, we will be rewarded by results that will benefit many generations to come.

We all know that FOSS stands for Forum of Small States. 

But with your leadership and engagement in this critical year, I am convinced FOSS will also stand for “Forefront of Sustainable Success”.

Thank you.