THE SECRETARY — GENERAL — MESSAGE ON UNITED NATIONS DAY, 24 October 2016

This year’s observance of United Nations Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations.

Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfill the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet.

The world is also moving at long last beyond the mindset which viewed the burning of fossil fuels as the path to prosperity.  At a time of record heat, Member States have embraced the Paris Agreement on climate change in record time. This landmark measure will enter into force on 4 November. Across that historic threshold lies our best chance for greener, cleaner, low-carbon growth.

The United Nations is also in transition, from its eighth Secretary-General to the ninth. I have been honored to serve “we the peoples” for the past ten years. Together, we have put in place some solid foundations for shared progress – which we must build on by working even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all.

But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak — including unresolved conflicts causing immense suffering throughout the troubled Middle East, South Sudan, the Sahel and beyond. On these and other front-lines of violence and disaster, courageous UN staff continue to rise to the occasion and respond to the plight of the vulnerable.

I thank people across the world for their support – and urge all to give their full backing to Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres in continuing our global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.