In “world of disquiet”, UN Charter sends “clear message: put people first”

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the first day of its General Debate. “The first words of the [UN] Charter – ‘we the peoples’ – are a summons to place people at the centre of our work,” he said, stressing that a great many “fear getting trampled, thwarted, left behind.” “Machines take their jobs.  Traffickers take their dignity.  Demagogues take their rights.  Warlords take their lives.  Fossil fuels take their future,”   the Secretary-General stated, adding that “we, the leaders, must deliver for we, the peoples.” At this time of “transition and dysfunction in global power relations,” the Secretary-General warned of a “new risk looming on the horizon that may not yet be large, but it is real.” “I fear the possibility of a Great Fracture: the world splitting in two, with the two largest economies on Earth creating two separate and competing worlds,” he said, stressing the need to do “everything possible to avert the Great Fracture and maintain a universal system – a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions.”

The Secretary-General speaks at the opening of the 74th General Assembly General Debate. UN Photo/Mark Garten


Global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals

Speaking at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Secretary-General stated that the commitment to the 2030 Agenda was “unmistakable”, but that progress was off track. “Deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence, and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the [Sustainable Development] Goals,” he said, issuing a global call for a decade of action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. “We need to move together, leaving no one behind,” he said. “Let us seize the momentum from this Summit and this week to move faster and farther to reach our destination for people and planet.”

The SDG Action Zone at the United Nations Headquarters. UN Photo/Cia Pak.


“To the well-being and prosperity of we the peoples of the world”

The Secretary-General hosted a luncheon for Heads of State and Government attending the General Assembly’s General Debate. Recalling this year’s 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Secretary-General quoted astronaut Neil Armstrong from his visit to the United Nations: “I can tell that you share with us the hope that we – citizens of the Earth – who can solve the problems of leaving Earth can also solve the problems of living on it.” The Secretary-General called the quote a “fantastic inspiration for what we have to do: create together an Earth on which we all can live in peace and in prosperity.” He also mentioned the upcoming 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which will be celebrated next year.


Event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi

The Secretary-General attended an event hosted by Prime-Minister Narendra Modi of India to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.



Bilateral meetings with world leaders

The Secretary-General continued his bilateral meetings with world leaders. Readouts of the meetings can be found on the website of the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.



The Secretary-General will attend a high-level event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He will also speak at a meeting hosted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on financial inclusion for development. In addition, the Secretary-General will deliver remarks in a meeting on Mali and the Sahel and on a Security Council debate on cooperation to counter terrorist threats.