New York

20 September 2016

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

This lunch is unique.  At no other time, in no other place, do so many world leaders break bread together.

And this year is unique.  Never before have a President of the United States and a Secretary-General of the United Nations completed their terms at about the same time – within just twenty days of each other.

Mr. President, we need to find something to do. 

I challenge you to a round of golf!  But please don’t challenge me to a game of basketball!

President Obama, I would like to express my great appreciation for the support you have provided for the United Nations throughout your term.  Your efforts have advanced UN causes while upholding our shared values: freedom, equality, democracy and peace.

One of the most memorable moments of my tenure took place just over two weeks ago, at the G20 meeting, when we stood together as the United States and China joined the Paris Agreement.

Climate diplomacy faced much opposition and involved many sleepless nights.  But now the Agreement is on the brink of entering into force.  This achievement will surely echo down the decades.

I am pleased to welcome even more Heads of State and Government here this year than last.

I have been deeply privileged to serve this Organization and the world’s people.  Thanks to your support, we have made important gains.  The progress of the past ten years is our shared legacy.

I will miss working with so many remarkable people, in and beyond the United Nations.  I will take many good memories with me.  And even though this will be my last chance to host lunch for all of you, I hope to see you personally in the future.

But I do not want to get too sentimental just yet.  After all, there is much work to do. 

For now, allow me to leave you with one message:

Just as the Charter calls on nations to unite, we human beings must do better at being human.

We must care for each other, with compassion.  We must defend each other against shared threats, with solidarity. 

Beyond common interests, let us be held together by the far stronger bond of our common humanity.

In that spirit, let us toast to peace, prosperity and human rights across the world.

Thank you.