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.
This solemn occasion is special in another respect.
On being sworn in, a few moments ago, I placed my hand on the UN Charter —
not a copy, but the original signed in San Francisco.
Our Founding Fathers deemed this document so precious that it was flown
back to Washington, strapped to its own parachute. No such consideration
was given to the poor diplomat accompanying it; he had to take his chances.
We thank the U.S. National Archives for their generosity in lending it
today, and for their care in preserving it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Charter of the United Nations is the animating spirit and soul of our
For sixty-five years, this great Organization has carried the flame of
human aspiration — “We the peoples.”
From the last of the great world wars, through the fall of the Berlin Wall
and the end of apartheid .
We have fed the hungry, delivered comfort to the sick and suffering,
brought peace to those afflicted by war.
This great Organization, dedicated to human progress — the United Nations.
We began our work together, four and a half years ago, with a call for a
“new multilateralism” — a new spirit of collective action.
We saw, in our daily work, how all the world’s people look more and more to
the United Nations.
We knew then — and more so now — that we live in an era of integration and
interconnection, a new era where no country can solve all challenges on its
own and where every country should be part of the solution.
That is the reality of the modern world. We can struggle with it, or we can
The role of the United Nations is to lead. Each of us here today shares
that heavy responsibility. It is why the UN matters in a different and
deeper way than ever before.
To lead, we must deliver results. Mere statistics will not do. We need
results that people can see and touch - results that change lives - make a
Ladies and gentlemen,
Working together, with goodwill and mutual trust, we have laid a firm
foundation for the future.
When we began, climate change was an invisible issue. Today, we have placed
it squarely on the global agenda.
When we began to work together+, nuclear disarmament was frozen in time.
Today, we see progress.
We have advanced on global health, sustainable development and education.
We are on track to eliminate deaths from malaria. With a final push, we can
eradicate polio, just as we did smallpox long ago.
We have shielded the poor and vulnerable against the greatest economic
upheaval in generations.
Amid devastating natural disasters, we were there, saving lives — in Haiti,
As never before, the UN is on the front lines protecting people and also
helping build the peace — in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and Somalia; in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.
We have stood firm for democracy, justice and human rights — in Côte
d’Ivoire, North Africa and beyond.
We have carved out a new dimension for the Responsibility to Protect.
We created UN Women to empower women everywhere. That includes the UN
And yet, we never forget how far we have to go. We must continue the
important work that we have begun together.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we look to the future, we recognize the imperative for decisive and
In economic hard times, we must stretch resources — do better with less. We
must improve our ability to Deliver as One.
We must do more to connect the dots among the world’s challenges, so that
solutions to one global problem become solutions for all — on women’s and
children’s health, green growth, more equitable social and economic
A clear time-frame lies ahead: the target date for the Millennium
Development Goals in 2015, next year’s Rio + 20 conference, the high-level
meeting on nuclear safety in September and the Nuclear Security Summit in
Seoul next year.
In all this, our ultimate power is partnership.
Our legacy, such as it may be, will be written in alliance — the leaders of
the world, leading in common cause.
As in the past, I count on your support and even deeper partnership. By
acting decisively to renew my mandate, you have given the gift of time —
time to carry on the important work that, together, we have begun.
In the months to come, we will be reaching out to you for your views and
ideas. Drawing on those discussions, I shall present our broader long-term
vision at the next General Assembly in September.
My predecessor Dag Hammarskjold once said, “Never for the sake of ‘peace
and quiet’ deny your own experience or conviction.” Like my distinguished
forebear, I take this lesson to heart.
It has been a great privilege to serve as your Secretary-General. That you
should ask me to serve once again, makes it all the greater.
With gratitude for your support and encouragement, and honouring your
trust, I pledge my full commitment to accept your support. I am proud and
humbled to accept.
As Secretary-General, I will work as a harmonizer and bridge-builder —
among Member States, within the United Nations system, and between the
United Nations and a rich diversity of international partners.
To quote the great philosopher Lao-tzu:
“The Way of heaven is to benefit others and not to injure.
The Way of the sage is to act but not compete.”
Let us apply this enduring wisdom to our work today. Out of the competition
of ideas, let us find unity in action.
Honouring your trust, I pledge my full commitment, my full energy and
resolve to uphold the fundamental principles of our sacred Charter.
Together, let us do all we can to help this noble Organization better serve
“we the peoples” of the world.
Together, no challenge is too large. Together, nothing is “impossible.”
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485