12 September 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's video message to the G20 Interfaith Forum

Excellency President Sergio Mattarella,

Distinguished speakers and guests,

It is a pleasure to address the 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum. My thanks to the organizers for inviting me to join your deliberations. 

Our world today is in crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend societies across the world. Unequal access to life-saving vaccines is exacerbating this impact.

Our planet is on fire. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group released just a few weeks ago has re-affirmed the shocking devastation of climate change on our environment and underscored the urgent action needed to avert climate catastrophe.

Around the world, inequalities continue to grow, and hatred and division are spreading — online and in the streets. Violence is putting vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous peoples and minorities at higher risk. These trends are all made worse by COVID-19.

That’s why your discussions today are so vital.

As a global community, we need to heal.

We need to address the root causes and risks of these polarizing issues.

We need to come together, as a human family.

Religious leaders and faith actors must be at the centre of these efforts.

You play a crucial role in promoting the values of inclusion, peace, human rights and dignity. These values are at the heart of our work at the United Nations — and enshrined across the 2030 agenda.

Early in the pandemic, the Secretary-General called on religious leaders and actors to speak out against the hate and stigma that has accompanied the pandemic. I am glad to see so many of you have responded to this call and I encourage you to continue this important work to bring communities together.

For humanity to come together as one, we need to work together, as one.

We need to heal as one.

We at the United Nations are proud to work with our faith-based partners to bring people together, to begin healing our world, and to shape societies in which every person is valued, and every person can thrive.

Let’s walk this journey together.

Thank you.