Time of Test, Era of Opportunity

Time of Test, Era of Opportunity

Selected Speeches of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 2007–2016 You do not have access to this content

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16 Dec 2016
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This publication features a selection of speeches delivered by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his tenure from 2006 to 2016, a decade that has witnessed considerable upheaval and transformation. The most important issues of our time are addressed in this volume, ranging from international peace and security to sustainable development, climate change to disarmament, humanitarian action to human rights, justice and the rule of law, and the empowerment of women and girls and of the new generations. This collection of speeches provides vital insights into our rapidly changing world and of the multiple challenges facing humanity today.

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  • About Ban Ki-moon

    BAN KI-MOON, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1 January 2007 and was re-elected by the General Assembly in 2011 to a second five-year term ending on 31 December 2016.

  • Introduction

    To serve as Secretary-General of the United Nations is to occupy one of the world’s foremost bully pulpits. Throughout my tenure, I sought to make ample use of this unique platform – from the General Assembly Hall to houses of parliament, from the Security Council Chamber to classrooms, clinics and refugee camps across the world. I sought to assure the vulnerable that the United Nations is on their side; to mobilize civil society groups to play their indispensable role; and to put before world leaders sensible proposals for tackling the challenges of our time.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts General Assembly

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    • Address to the 71st General Assembly, New York, 20 September 2016

      I stand before you with gratitude for your support across the decade I have had the privilege to serve the United Nations

    • Address to the 70th General Assembly, New York, 28 September 2015

      The 70th session of the General Assembly has opened with a towering achievement: the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, including 17 inspiring Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. Our aim is clear. Our mission is possible. And our destination is in our sights: an end to extreme poverty by 2030; a life of peace and dignity for all.

    • Address to the 69th General Assembly, New York, 24 September 2014

      It is a great honour to welcome you to this renovated General Assembly Hall. This great Hall is home to “we the peoples”. It has been restored, renewed and reinvented for the 21st century. I thank all of you for making it possible. The Capital Master Plan was not an easy project. But you, the Member States, embraced the vision. You made the investment. Now we see the wonderful results: a state-of-theart space in which we shall work together to improve the state of the world. In the name of all peoples and all nations, I am now proud to officially declare this General Assembly Hall open for business.

    • Address to the 68th General Assembly, New York, 24 September 2013

      Each year at this time, we come together – not to preserve the status quo, but to drive our world forward. This is an era of wondrous opportunity. Ours is the first generation that can wipe poverty from the face of the earth. Yet the pressures on people and the planet are building: Youth without jobs. A warming climate. Unresolved conflicts.

    • Address to the 67th General Assembly, New York, 25 September 2012

      We gather annually in this great hall to look soberly, and without illusion, at the state of our world. This year, I am here to sound the alarm about our direction as a human family.

    • Address to the General Assembly: Five-Year Action Agenda: The Future We Want, New York, 25 January 2012

      Good morning and my warmest regards to you and for a happy new year. Last September I stood before you and outlined five imperatives for my second term; five key areas where we can, and must, make significant progress; five generational opportunities to creatively deliver on our core mission.

    • Address to the 66th General Assembly, New York, 21 September 2011

      Late next month, a child will be born, the 7 billionth citizen of our planet Earth. Let us assume this child is a girl. Most likely she will be poor. She may or may not grow up to be healthy and strong. If she is especially lucky, she will be educated and go out into the world, full of hopes and dreams. Beyond that, we know only one thing with certainty: she will enter a world of vast and unpredictable change – environmental, economic, geopolitical, technological, demographic.

    • Remarks to the General Assembly upon re-election as Secretary-General, New York, 21 June 2011

      With your decision this afternoon – with your warm words – you do me a very great honour, beyond expression. Standing in this place, mindful of the immense legacy of my predecessors, I am humbled by your trust, and enlarged by our sense of common purpose.

    • Address to the 65th General Assembly, New York, 23 September 2010

      We, the peoples of the United Nations, are bound by certain sacred duties and obligations. To care for the welfare of others. To resolve conflicts peacefully. To act in the world with empathy and understanding. To practice tolerance and mutual respect as a bedrock principle of civilization.

    • Address to the 64th General Assembly, New York, 23 September 2009

      We gather each and every September in a solemn rite. We come to reaffirm our founding Charter – our faith in fundamental principles of peace, justice, human rights and equal opportunity for all. We assess the state of the world, engage on the key issues of the day, lay out our vision for the way ahead.

    • Address to the 63rd General Assembly, New York, 23 September 2008

      Welcome to the opening of the general debate of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly.

    • Address to the 62nd General Assembly, New York, 25 September 2007

      Welcome, all, to New York in this beautiful autumn season. It is a pleasure and an honor to be with you, at this opening of the general debate of our sixty-second General Assembly. I expect the year ahead to be among the most challenging in our history. And I am sure that, together, we can make it one of the most successful.

    • Address to the General Assembly upon appointment as Secretary-General, New York, 13 October 2006

      I stand before you, deeply touched and inspired by your generous words of congratulations and encouragement. With boundless gratitude for the confidence placed in me by the Member States, and with an unswerving resolve to honor that trust, I humbly accept the appointment as the eighth Secretary-General of this great Organization, our United Nations. I wish to extend my deepest respect and appreciation to all the leaders and peoples of the Member States for their strong support.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Climate change

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    • Address to the Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, 8 October 2016

      It is an honour to receive this Climate Sustainability Award. I accept it on behalf of the many people in and beyond the United Nations who have been part of the very active climate diplomacy over the past several years that produced the historic Paris Agreement. I am gratified that we worked together to produce something that can make our world safer and more sustainable, especially for future generations.

    • Remarks at signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, New York, 22 April 2016

      Last December in Paris, the international community adopted the world’s first universal climate agreement. Every country pledged to curb emissions and strengthen resilience to potentially devastating climate impacts.

    • Remarks following the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Paris, 12 December 2015

      The Paris Agreement on climate change is a monumental triumph for people and planet. I know I speak for everyone in this room in applauding COP21 President Laurent Fabius and UNFCCC Executive-Secretary Christiana Figueres for their outstanding stewardship of these negotiations. In the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership.

    • Remarks at Vatican Conference on the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity, Vatican City, 28 April 2015

      I thank the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for hosting this important symposium, and His Holiness Pope Francis for extending such a warm welcome. Pope Francis and I have just had a fruitful and wide ranging conversation. I commend His Holiness, and all faith and scientific leaders here, for raising awareness of the urgent need to promote sustainable development and address climate.

    • Remarks at Climate Summit, New York, 23 September 2014

      Thank you for coming to this unprecedented and important gathering. Looking at that film made me think of my childhood. I grew up poor in war-torn Korea. I dreamed of peace. I dreamed of prosperity. I dreamed of opportunity. Standing here today is, in so many ways, a dream come true. But today the dreams of people throughout the world hang in the balance. Climate change threatens hard-won peace, prosperity, and opportunity for billions of people. Today we must set the world on a new course.

    • Remarks to Climate Change Summit, New York, 22 September 2009

      I am honoured to welcome you to this Summit – the largest-ever gathering of world leaders on climate change.

    • The Ice Is Melting, op-ed article on Visit to the Arctic Circle, the New York Times, 17 September 2009

      Two weeks ago, I visited the Arctic. I saw the remains of a glacier that just a few years ago was a majestic mass of ice. It had collapsed. Not slowly melted - collapsed. I traveled nine hours by ship from the world’s northernmost settlement to reach the polar ice rim. In just a few years, the same ship may be able to sail unimpeded all the way to the North Pole. The Arctic could be virtually ice-free by 2030. Scientists told me their sobering findings. The Arctic is our canary in the coal mine for climate impacts that will affect us all.

    • Address on Adapting to Climate Change, Ulaanbaatar, 27 July 2009

      It is a great pleasure to be here with you today. Over the past two days, Mrs Ban and I, and all my colleagues, have had a wonderful visit to this beautiful country. It was indeed a special privilege to visit the Hustai National Park, to spend a night in a traditional ger, and to get a taste of the rich culture of Mongolia. As you may know, I was honoured to name a horse - one of the original Takhi. I named it Peace, Enkhtaivan in Mongolian, for reasons all of us understand.

    • Remarks During Visit to Antarctica, Antarctica, 9 November 2007

      I am here today to observe the impact of global warming. To see for myself and learn all I can. We joke among ourselves that we are on an eco-tour, although I am not here as a tourist, but as a messenger of early warning.

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