New York

17 September 2019

Secretary-Generals remarks at 34th Annual International Prayer Breakfast [as prepared for delivery]

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends,
As we prepare for the busy days ahead, this prayer service offers a precious moment of reflection and humility.
We represent many faiths, communities and cultures, but this gathering shows that we are one.
One family of diverse nations, sharing common values and common goals.
This diversity is a strength.
Unfortunately, some exploit these differences to fuel conflict or for political gain.
Hate speech is on the rise. Tragic attacks are being perpetrated against all religions.
That is why I am mobilizing the United Nations. After launching the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, I presented last week our Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites.
Everyone must feel safe to practice their faith and join places of worship in peace.
But we must also tackle the root causes of all violence, including violations of human rights.
And we must always show solidarity with people who are suffering, whether from poverty, discrimination, conflict or the impacts of climate change.
In recent days, I met with people in the Bahamas and expressed the UN’s continued support in such hard times. I also witnessed the mobilization of the population, including faith leaders.
I am deeply convinced that religion has an important role to play as advocates for safeguarding our environment, and as models of moderation in general.
I am very encouraged to see many faith leaders mobilized for climate action and will count on their continued support at next Monday’s Climate Action Summit and beyond.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The challenges ahead of us are many and diverse. I pray that together, in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, we can continue to build a better world today and for generations to come.
Thank you.