Message of the UN Secretary-General on World Population Day
11 July 2019
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization.
While the world’s population overall continues to increase, this growth is uneven. For many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change. Other countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations, including the need to promote healthy active ageing and to provide adequate social protection. As the world continues to urbanize, with 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth.
In an opinion piece today for Newsweek, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlined a vision for addressing the enormous challenges facing the international community, including maintaining peace and security, promoting economic development, and combatting climate change.
“The greatest shortcoming of the international community today is its failure to prevent conflict and maintain global security,” he wrote. The new Secretary-General, whose five-year term began on 1 January, is urging the international community to respond to recent crises by committing to a more diplomatic and peaceful 2017. To do that, he argued, we must focus on the basics: stronger institutions and more resilient societies.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s last day in office is 31 December 2016.
In his last remaining days at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General spoke with UN News on a range of topics, including his service with the world body, the impact that war had on his decision to pursue a career in public service, and his next steps. Here is his interview.
The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the Royal family, Government and people of Thailand on the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Secretary-General acknowledges King Bhumibol’s long dedication to his country and his legacy as a unifying national leader. He was revered by the people of Thailand and highly respected internationally. In recognition of his work, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Nations Development Programme in 2006.
The Secretary-General expresses his hope that Thailand will continue to honour King Bhumibol’s legacy of commitment to universal values and respect for human rights.
New York, 13 October 2016
Rome, 6 October 2016
Buon giorno! E un vero piacere essere ancora una volta a Roma, specialmente con il Presidente Mattarella.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just had very productive meeting with President Mattarella. Earlier today I also met with the President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso, and the President of the Chambers of Deputies, Laura Boldrini.
We discussed some of the most pressing issues on the international agenda, including Syria, Libya and the refugee and migrant crisis.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Secretary-General, I have visited Switzerland more times than any other country in the world.
This Palais des Nations is my second home. I thank Switzerland for generously supporting our Strategic Heritage Plan, which is securing these premises for future generations.
Geneva is the UN’s starting point to lead the world’s response to humanitarian suffering, human rights abuses, pandemics, labour problems and more.
Geneva also generously hosts important mediation processes.
Many of you have been closely following the Syrian talks. Thank you for keeping the spotlight on this catastrophic crisis.
My Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, has been doing everything possible to impress on the parties – and influential countries – that there can be no military solution.
We are out of words to express our outrage at the carnage, especially in Aleppo. The brutality is unrelenting. I strongly condemn the deliberate campaign against civilians and health workers and humanitarian personnel trying to save them. The parties have first obligation, countries with influence are also responsible for ending the attacks.
Following the result of the plebiscite, the Secretary-General welcomes the public commitment from the Government of Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) and all of the country’s political forces to continue working to end the armed conflict and build a lasting peace. After more than five decades of war, the Colombian people deserve no less.
While political efforts are undertaken to assess the way forward, the Secretary-General believes all must be done to maintain calm and prevent a return to violence. He commends the parties for their commitment, as expressed by President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC-EP Commander Timoleón Jiménez, to maintain the bilateral cease-fire declared on 29 August.
The Secretary-General has also instructed his Special Representative, Jean Arnault, to travel to Havana today to continue his consultations with the parties.
The Secretary-General acknowledges the tremendous efforts undertaken to overcome the conflict and calls on all concerned to build on that foundation. He believes strongly that peace can still be achieved, and that the many Colombians who have committed themselves to this goal should not be discouraged.
The United Nations reiterates its firm support to peace efforts in Colombia.
New York, 3 October 2016
The Secretary-General welcomes the Judgement delivered today by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, in which Mr Al Mahdi was found guilty as a co-perpetrator of the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012.
The Secretary-General notes that this ICC Judgment, the first in a case of destruction of cultural heritage, represents an important step forward in the fight against impunity in Mali. He further notes that the path to healing wounds between communities in the country must be premised in greater accountability, justice and the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation for the efforts undertaken by UNESCO and the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, in support of national authorities, to protect and reconstruct Mali’s heritage and to preserve cultural diversity in the country.
New York, 27 September 2016
New York, 21 September 2016
I am heartened by the tremendous support for bringing the Paris Agreement into force this year.
The global coalition that delivered in Paris continues to go from strength to strength.
With this meeting this morning, as of now, we have 60 parties representing, over 47.5% [of global greenhouse gas emissions]. We need 7.5% more. And that means we have crossed one the two thresholds, the 55 countries, so it’s well over, now let us work harder to get all this 7.5% greenhouse gas emissions added more. I thank the 31 countries who have deposited their instruments with me today. I am happy to declare that we have officially crossed one of the two thresholds required to bring the Paris Agreement into force.
20 September 2016
I stand before you with gratitude for your support across the decade I have had the privilege to serve this great organization, the United Nations.
In taking the oath of office in December 2006, I pledged to work with you for “we the peoples” With the Charter as our guide, and the dedication of the staff, we have achieved much together.
I also stand before you with deep concern.
Gulfs of mistrust divide citizens from their leaders. Extremists push people into camps of “us” and “them”. The Earth assails us with rising seas, record heat and extreme storms. And danger defines the days of many.
One hundred and thirty million people need life-saving assistance. Tens of millions of them are children and young people — our next generation already at risk.