New York

23 October 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at informal meeting of the General Asembly to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Ratification of the Charter of the United Nations

Tomorrow, all around the world, iconic landmarks will be lit up blue for UN Day.

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945.

For 70 years, this groundbreaking and visionary act of statecraft has guided nations in the pursuit of peace, social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

The Charter is written, deliberately, in the voice, not of governments, but of “we the peoples” of the United Nations.

It is a Charter for everyone.  But it has special resonance for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

I know first-hand the power and the value of UN blue.

When war came to Korea, I lost my home, my school, all I knew.  

But help came, bearing the United Nations flag.

Seven decades after its founding, the blue flag of the United Nations remains a banner of hope for all humanity.

We have brought freedom to millions, dismantling colonialism, defeating apartheid and defending human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. 

Our blue helmets and humanitarian workers risk their lives serving those in crisis.

We fight poverty, hunger and disease.

We stand against corruption, impunity and injustice.

Our enterprise is not perfect.

Violence, poverty, ill-health and abuse plague far too many people, especially women and girls. 

Conflict, oppression and despair have forced more people to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War. 

But without the United Nations, our world would be a far bleaker place.

And now, seven decades after its founding, the United Nations has renewed its pledge to humankind.

By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States have united behind a promise to end poverty and provide a life of dignity for all on a healthy planet within a generation.

To achieve these goals, we need a strong United Nations – a strong UN for a better world.

So today, let us reflect on the promise of the Charter, and the pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Let us “unite our strength” and serve “we the peoples”. 

This is a time of test but also of tremendous opportunity. 

We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can stop the worst effects of climate change.

And, if we work in good faith, heeding the promise of our founding Charter, we can succeed in the quest to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

As we shine a blue light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to a better and brighter future for all.

Thank you.