New York

12 September 2017

The Secretary-General's remarks at opening of 72nd session of the General Assembly [as delivered]

 
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Let me begin by once again congratulating our new President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák.
 
He and I have had good discussions in recent months about our shared hopes for this session.
 
I have no doubt the Assembly is in very capable hands.
 
His experience, his vision and his wisdom, are recognized by all of us that have the privilege to know him. I also welcome President Lajčák’s choice of theme for the year to come: “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”.
 
I look forward to working together for progress on all our areas of work.
 
Our world faces serious threats -- from the proliferation of nuclear weapons to global terrorism, from climate change to inequality. 
 
We also face major challenges, from migration to the unintended consequences of technological advances, such as cyber attacks.
 
People around the world are rightly demanding change and looking for governments and institutions to deliver. 
We all agree that the United Nations must do even more to adapt and deliver.  That is the aim of the reform proposals that this Assembly will consider. 
 
I look forward to working with you, distinguished delegates, to strengthen our Organization to better support the Member States and to produce better results for the people we serve.
 
One key change, within and beyond the United Nations, must be to empower the world’s women and girls.
 
Yesterday, I launched a roadmap for achieving gender parity throughout the United Nations, at all levels.  I appeal to you to put forward women candidates for vacancies.  Parity at the UN will improve performance at the UN.
 
Despite today’s conflicts and the grinding daily impact of poverty, I remain convinced that this is far more an era of transformational potential.
 
May the 72nd session of the General Assembly take bold steps to seize those opportunities as we continue to serve “we the peoples”.
 
Thank you.