New York

23 November 2020

Secretary-General's video message for the International Publishers Association General Assembly

It is a pleasure to greet publishers from around the world.

I am delighted that the International Publishers Association has become such a committed partner to help the United Nations and the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDG Book Club is a wonderful way to spread the word about the Global Goals. As a book-lover myself, I am very encouraged to see this club growing with new offshoots around the world.

I also applaud you for recognizing that your value lies not only in the books you publish, but in the way you conduct yourselves as businesses. I encourage all of you to sign up to the SDG Publishers Compact.

Let me also stress the bedrock commitment of the United Nations to freedom of expression.  Our ability to change the world for the better has often relied on brave authors and publishers who challenge conventional wisdom and those in power. At a time when we urgently need change and action, the freedom to publish and authors’ freedom to say and write what’s on their minds are more important than ever.

Your General Assembly takes place as the world wrestles with a devastating pandemic, a climate crisis, rising inequalities and persistent conflicts.  This a moment to strengthen international cooperation, which is crucial for overcoming COVID-19, addressing the fragilities that have been exposed so starkly, and building a safer, healthier, more sustainable, equitable and peaceful world for all.

Thank you again for your partnership and your commitment to the United Nations.  Please accept my best wishes for a fruitful gathering.