New York

12 September 2017

Secretary-General's remarks at wreath laying ceremony commemorating 56th anniversary of the death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld [as delivered]

Ladies and gentlemen,
This annual observance honours and celebrates the life and achievements of Dag Hammarskjöld.
I am glad that we continue to persist in trying to shed light on the circumstances of his death.
We owe him a great debt.
Dag Hammarskjöld not only believed in the United Nations, he inspired so many others to believe in it, too.
We need that spirit more than ever today.
Multilateralism is under strain, yet effective multilateral cooperation is essential if we are to rise to our global challenges and achieve our global goals.
Hammarskjöld understood that the United Nations – like our world -- is not perfect.
But he knew it is indispensable.
However, it is only as strong and effective as its members and we the peoples allow it to be.
That is why he said: “Everything will be all right - you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves.”
As Secretary-General, I am committed to understanding and interpreting this complex drawing, so it is clear to all people everywhere what it represents.
At its root, the United Nations stands for hope – hope for peace, prosperity and dignity for all.
And we have a plan – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – that can help to get us there.
But we all need to believe -- in the way that Dag Hammarskjöld believed -- that our dreams and goals are possible.
As we open a new session of the General Assembly, let us be inspired by Dag Hammarskjöld to fulfil the dream and pledge of the United Nations Charter. 
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
This annual observation honours Dag Hammarskjöld. He, his example, his life, his testimony should guide us in the next General Assembly session and forever.
Thank you.