Category Archives: Secretary General’s Message

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust


Secretary-General’s Message for 2016

During the Second World War, six million Jews were systematically rounded up and exterminated.  The Nazis also murdered Sinti and Roma, political prisoners, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Soviet prisoners of war.

The Holocaust was a colossal crime.  No-one can deny the evidence that it happened.  By remembering the victims and honouring the courage of the survivors and those who assisted and liberated them, we annually renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities and reject the hateful mentality that allows them.

From the shadow of the Holocaust and the cruelties of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of every person and to uphold the rights of all to live in equality and free from discrimination. Continue reading

#COP21 closing remarks of the Secretary General



Paris, 12 December 2015

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends/speaks at Opening of High-Level Segment of COP21.

Mesdames, Messieurs,

All my congratulations.

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.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time.

That is why I have made it one of the defining priorities of my tenure as Secretary-General.

Over the past nine years, I have spoken repeatedly with nearly every world leader.

I have visited the climate front lines, from the Arctic to Antarctica and to the Amazon, from the Sahel to the Aral Sea.

I have been to Pacific Islands that are sinking under the waves.

Most of all, I have listened to people – the young, the poor and the vulnerable, including indigenous peoples, from every corner of the globe.

They have demanded that world leaders act to safeguard their well-being and that of generations to come.

Here in Paris, we have heeded their voices – as was our duty.


We have solid results on all key points.

The agreement demonstrates solidarity.

It is ambitious, flexible, credible and durable. Continue reading

Message on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples



9 August 2015

 This year, as the United Nations commemorates its 70th anniversary, we can look back on major advances for humanity. The 2007 adoption by the General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was one of many successes achieved through the fruitful partnership between indigenous peoples and United Nations Member States. Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on World Youth Skills Day 2015



15 July 2015

            I welcome this first-ever commemoration of World Youth Skills Day. On July 15th each year, the international community will underscore the value of helping young people to upgrade their own abilities to contribute to our common future.

            While overall more young people have greater educational opportunities than in the past, there are still some 75 million adolescents who are out of school, denied the quality education they deserve and unable to acquire the skills they need.

            We may see an understandably frustrated youth population – but that picture is incomplete. With the right skills, these young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies.

            Skills development reduces poverty and better equips young people to find decent jobs. It triggers a process of empowerment and self-esteem that benefits everyone. And it strengthens youth capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, moving us closer to ending poverty hunger, injustice and environmental degradation.

            On this Day, I call for investing politically and financially in developing the skills of young people so that they can help build a more just and sustainable future for all.

Secretary General’s Message on International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking 2015

WDD15_logo_ENIn September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all. This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.

Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions.  In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs. We must consider alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply.  We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. Continue reading

21 June 2015 International Day of Yoga

Secretary General’s Message

yogo_layout1During a visit to India this year, I had the opportunity to practice yoga with one of my senior advisors. Although he happened to be a son of the country, I might equally have done the same with many other colleagues from different parts of the world. Yoga is an ancient discipline from a traditional setting that has grown in popularity to be enjoyed by practitioners in every region. By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.

Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.

I discovered this for myself on trying to do my first asana, a tree pose suited to beginners. It took a moment for me to gain my balance but once I did, I appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring.

Sec Gen gets yoga lesson from Senior advisor Nambiar se stephs tweet for caption

On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations and usher in a life of dignity for all.

17 June World Day to combat Desertification

Secretary General’s Message 

“Invest in healthy soils”Ban-kimoon

Land degradation and desertification undercut human rights, starting with the right to food.  Nearly 1 billion people lack adequate nutrition, and those living off degraded areas are among the most affected.  Their situation could worsen if land degradation, as projected, reduces global food production by 12 per cent by 2035.

Food security is also impacted by the decline in water resources.  Due to land degradation there is less water and snow being stored in the ground.  In 10 years, two out of every three people in the world could be living under stressed water conditions. Continue reading

15 June World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

338432_UN-Ban%20Ki-moonSecretary-General’s Message for 2015

It is a disturbing and tragic fact in our world that members of the older generations are too often neglected and abused. This painful reality generally goes ignored by mainstream society. At the same time, the ageing of the world’s population has added urgency to promoting and defending the rights of older persons, who are expected to make up more than 20 per cent of the global population by 2050.

Resolved to shed light on this injustice, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 15 June as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The annual commemoration has helped to generate an emerging global discussion of a once-taboo issue as people come together to support the rights of older persons to a life free of violence and abuse. Continue reading

UNIC Windhoek marks International Day of UN Peacekeepers: honouring the men and women serving under the flag of the United Nations.

“Highlighting the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) mission”

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is an annual celebration and commemoration of United Nations Peacekeepers worldwide. This year’s event coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, drawing attention to the theme: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. In lieu hereof focusing on past peacekeeping missions, the importance of present ongoing missions and the deployment of future peacekeeping missions.

Bringing it home, Namibia, just celebrated its 25th year of independence and it only seemed fit to look at the past and pay tribute to the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) mission, and how the transition took place ushering in the independence of Namibia as a nation.

On Friday the 29th of May 2015, the Centre visited Jan Möhr High school to educate as well as enlighten 250 grade 10, 11 and 12 learners on peacekeeping operations worldwide. Emphasis has been placed on the UNTAG mission which was established to assist the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martti Ahtisaari to ensure the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations and bearing in mind that the majority of the learners present have been born after the transition and independence took place and it would benefit them immensely to comprehend this historical democratic process.

The outreach commenced with a short briefing on what peacekeeping day is all about as well as an interactive discussion on what the term “peacekeeping” meant to the learners. The teaching were complimented with the screening of a short video clip exclusively prepared for this year’s    celebration that helped the leaners visualize and enlarged their scope of what peacekeeping missions involve. They were very intrigued and attentive as the video played. Once the video was done they applauded the UNTAG soldiers and peacekeepers worldwide that sacrifice and lay down their lives to ensure that security, political support and peace building assistance is given to countries who wish to transition from conflict to peace.

The in-depth lesson plan on the UNTAG mission were conducted with ease, because the learners seemed to have a good background on the facts such as what the abbreviation UNTAG stands for, who the Resident Representative of the UNTAG mission to Namibia was during the transition period and as well as who the current Secretary-General of the United Nations is.

Two learners were appointed as the UN Secretary-General for the outreach proceedings and to deliver the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2015 message. They did this with enthusiasm and pride. This was then followed by a candle lighting ceremony which was done to pay tribute to all the lives lost during peacekeeping missions worldwide.

To conclude the exercises, the learners then wrote messages of gratitude and appreciation to recognize those who took part in the UNTAG mission as well as to the peacekeepers currently involved in ongoing mission around the globe.  Coincidently, among the group of learners we were pleasantly surprised to find a young boy that indicated and expressed his appreciation for all peacekeepers worldwide, as his own mother is currently involved in a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

It was impressive to see how willingly the learners participated in the gratitude messages, and how heartfelt their messages were. On a whole they seemed to understand the important role that peacekeepers play in securing peace and stability.

Secretary-General’s message

2015 – Earth Day’s 45th anniversary – could be the most exciting year in environmental history.

The year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands. The year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty. The year in which citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions. These are tough issues but we know what’s at stake is the future of our planet and the survival of life on earth.

On Earth Day we need you to take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction. It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example. For many, climate change seems like a remote problem, but the reality is that it’s already affecting people, animals and places around the world. A change needs to be made. On April 22 we are harnessing the power of Earth Day to show our communities and our leadership that we want action on climate. It’s our turn to lead.


In 2015, let’s redefine what progress looks like. It’s Our Turn to Lead.

Sustainable Development

One billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day. One of the biggest controversies over a treaty has been the issue that developing countries don’t want to give up economic growth no matter the environmental cost, since the US and other developed countries got to pollute their way to the top.


Making a Difference
Over 400,000 people came together this past September in NYC for the biggest climate march of all time. Their call for action from the city streets reverberated around the world. They rallied for their leaders to recognize the catastrophic implications of climate change.

Time for a Treaty
Over the past 20 years, there have been a series of failed attempts to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation. In 1997, the first major international agreement was passed, The Kyoto Protocol. The US—one of the top polluters—didn’t ratify. Since then, many Summits and many efforts to come to agreement—Rio, Copenhagen—have ended in a flop.