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Visit of DG of UNOG, Mr. Michael Moller to Greece

Monday, 26 October 2015

22 October 2015
UN70 commemorative event, Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum


Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller United Nations Under-Secretary-General Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

UN70 commemorative event Thursday, 22 October 2015 at 10.15 am Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum

Mr. President,
[Ministers,]
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends:

ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΠΟΛΛΑ ΣΕ ΟΛΟΥΣ ΜΑΣ. Η 70Η ΕΠΕΤΕΙΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΩΝ ΕΘΝΩΝ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΕΝΑ ΕΠΙΤΕΥΓΜΑ ΠΟΥ ΑΝΗΚΕΙ ΣΕ ΟΛΟΥΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΛΑΟΥΣ, ΠΟΥ ΕΝΩΝΕΙ ΑΥΤΟΣ Ο ΟΡΓΑΝΙΣΜΟΣ.
ΑΥΤΟΣ Ο ΕΟΡΤΑΣΜΟΣ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ ΑΝΤΙΚΑΤΟΠΤΡΙΖΕΙ ΤΗΝ ΙΣΧΥΡΗ ΣΑΣ
ΥΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΗ ΣΤΑ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΑ ΕΘΝΗ. ΣΑΣ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ ΠΑΡΑ ΠΟΛΥ ΓΙΑ ΤΗ ΔΙΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΗ ΑΥΤΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΥΠΕΡΟΧΟΥ ΕΟΡΤΑΣΜΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΠΡΟΣΚΛΗΣΗ.

It is now my privilege to read the message of the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon:

‘National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world. But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.

That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.

Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.

Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry and shelters those driven from their homes.

The United Nations vaccinates children who would otherwise die from preventable diseases.

The United Nations defends human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

Our peacekeepers are on the frontlines of conflict; our mediators bring warriors to the peace table; our relief workers brave treacherous environments to deliver life-saving assistance.

The United Nations works for the entire human family of seven billion people, and cares for the earth, our one and only home.


And it is the diverse and talented staff of the United Nations who help bring the Charter to life.

The 70th anniversary is a moment to recognize their dedication – and to honour the many who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

The world faces many crises, and the limits of collective international action are painfully clear. Yet no single country or organization can address today’s challenges alone.

The timeless values of the UN Charter must remain our guide. Our shared duty is to “unite our strength” to serve “we the peoples”.

To mark this anniversary, monuments and buildings across the world are being illuminated in UN blue. As we shine a light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to better and brighter future for all.’

That was the end of the Secretary-General’s message.

Allow me to add a few thoughts and expand on some of the issues mentioned in this message.

Our 70th anniversary is an occasion to take stock and look forward. We definitely have come a long way. Seventy years ago, Europe and many other parts of the world were in ruins. Greece had experienced the horrors of Nazi occupation. And people everywhere were determined that such tragedies never happen again. They wanted lasting peace. To this end, the United Nations was created.

We have managed to “save succeeding generations from the scourge” of another World War. And there have been important steps in the pursuit of peace. Nuclear weapons, for example, have not been used against another country since the end of the Second World War. Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Treaties negotiated at the United Nations have contributed to this. But both, in the area of disarmament, and with respect to the wider aim of a peaceful world, there is clearly still a lot to be done.

Despite that, on a much broader scale, we can safely say that humanity has never had it so good. This is not an easy message to get across, especially at a time of significant economic crisis. The fact is, however, that on average, people today live longer, are healthier and better educated than ever before. The impact of the United Nations in achieving this gives us reason to be proud.

But this state of affairs is not the case everywhere in the world. I know that many people, including in Greece, have recently experienced economic difficulties. We must get better at ensuring that the progress we make is evenly spread and is sustainable.

I am pleased that many young people are taking part in this commemoration today. The youth representatives among us may argue that ‘these are nice slogans, but what has the UN ever concretely done for me?’ – a very relevant question indeed. After all, it is the duty of the younger generations to question the status quo in the search for a better future.

Actually, the UN has done quite a lot of things, some of them obvious, but most invisible. Let me give you an example of the latter by turning your attention to something that you take for granted, your mobile phones. Without the United Nations and its key partners, your phones simply would not function the way they do. It is thanks to standards developed by international organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union that you can use your mobile phones in different countries. But you would not even have the parts needed to assemble a mobile phone, were it not for trade agreements concluded at the World Trade Organization. And those parts would not be worth anything without the know-how to assemble them into a Smart Phone. Another member of the UN family, the World Intellectual Property Organization, encourages development of such innovative solutions by protecting patents.

Of course, the mobile phone example is only a tool to illustrate the larger point. The impact on the lives of individuals is still somewhat abstract. A project by the United Nations Development Programme makes the link more evident. Our UN colleagues working on this have used ‘mobile money’ to improve the efficiency, timeliness and security of payments to healthcare workers during the Ebola Emergency Response in West Africa. This system helped to contain a disease that could easily have spread much further, including to Greece.

There are many other examples of how the work of the United Nations touches the lives of every individual on the planet, every day. Most of you will, for example, have benefitted from vaccines. These are made safer and more effective due to standards set by the World Health Organization and other partners. And even in a country as beautiful as Greece, which attracts many tourists every year, few probably know about the UN World Tourism Organization. Yet, its promotion of tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability strengthen a major source of income in many countries. Tourism is one of the forces that will help Greece continue on its path of economic recovery. These are but a few examples of what the UN system delivers on a daily basis.

The United Nations family has taken the mandate incorporated in the Charter signed in San Francisco 70 years ago very seriously. And we have made important progress. The relevance and impact of what we do for every life on this planet every day of every year is an extraordinary achievement that is our collective responsibility to nurture and preserve.

But more progress is needed and the 70th anniversary is an opportunity to look ahead. As we do, we should not gloss over the fact, that the organization has aged. Ageing of course is not a bad thing. With it comes maturity, wisdom, and experience. But the world is changing at a fast pace. And the United Nations must be flexible enough, to adjust.

While we speak in this beautiful historic museum, every refugee arriving at the shores of Greece is a reminder of the urgent need for new solutions and methods of work.

The challenges we face are increasingly complex. For example, the United Nations peacekeepers have served in 71 missions since the creation of the organization. Many of these have helped to prevent wars. The peacekeeping operation in Cyprus is one example. But today, conflict  environments include a large number of different actors. They often involve non-State actors with little regard for international law. The United Nations needs to develop partnerships and tools that help it to deal with such new threats.

Another challenge is the reform of the UN to make it better at facing our many challenges, which is long overdue. Particularly the Security  Council that still reflects the realities of 70 years ago is struggling to find adequate responses to today’s challenges. But as we wait for  Member States to agree on reforms, we need to open the operational structures of the organization to allow greater participation. We have to be innovative and better at working with what we have. Partnerships and multi-constituency coalitions of States, public and private actors, civil society and academia, are increasingly central to the achievement of common goals.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that was just voted two weeks ago by 193 States, is a good opportunity to address these challenges. We now have an extraordinary opportunity to forge partnerships and converge synergies that are needed for the implementation of this Agenda. And this must also include the active involvement of the young generation. Through the Global Youth Call, 1.3 million young people who voted in the MyWorld2015 survey told us that their priorities are Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Health,Good Governance, and Peace and Stability.

ΑΥΤΑ ΑΚΡΙΒΩΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΑ ΖΗΤΗΜΑΤΑ ΠΟΥ ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΑΝΤΙΜΕΤΩΠΙΣΟΥΜΕ ΕΑΝ ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΙ ΘΕΛΟΥΜΕ ΝΑ ΑΝΟΙΚΟΔΟΜΗΣΟΥΜΕ ΤΗΝ ΕΜΠΙΣΤΟΣΥΝΗ ΤΩΝ ΜΕΛΛΟΝΤΙΚΩΝ ΓΕΝΕΩΝ ΣΤΑ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΑ ΕΘΝΗ. ΚΑΙ ΑΝ ΕΧΟΥΜΕ ΜΑΘΕΙ ΕΝΑ ΠΡΑΓΜΑ ΤΑ ΤΕΛΕΥΤΑΙΑ 70 ΧΡΟΝΙΑ, ΑΥΤΟ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΠΩΣ ΔΕΝ ΜΠΟΡΟΥΜΕ ΝΑ ΑΝΤΙΜΕΤΩΠΙΣΟΥΜΕ ΤΑ ΖΗΤΗΜΑΤΑ ΑΥΤΑ ΜΟΝΟΙ ΜΑΣ. ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΣΥΝΕΡΓΑΣΘΟΥΜΕ ΜΕ ΤΗΝ ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, ΤΙΣ ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΕΙΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΑΚΑΔΗΜΑΙΚΟ ΧΩΡΟ. ΣΗΜΕΡΑ, ΜΠΟΡΟΥΜΕ ΝΑ ΟΙΚΟΔΟΜΗΣΟΥΜΕ ΣΤΟ ΣΗΜΑΝΤΙΚΟ ΕΡΓΟ ΠΟΥ ΕΧΕΙ ΠΑΡΑΓΑΓΕΙ Ο ΟΗΕ ΕΔΩ ΚΑΙ 70 ΧΡΟΝΙΑ. ΜΑΖΙ, ΜΠΟΡΟΥΜΕ ΝΑ ΦΤΙΑΞΟΥΜΕ ΕΝΑΝ ΙΣΧΥΡΟΤΕΡΟ ΟΗΕ, ΓΙΑ ΕΝΑΝ ΑΚΟΜΗ ΚΑΛΥΤΕΡΟ
ΚΟΣΜΟ. Ο ΣΗΜΕΡΙΝΟΣ ΕΟΡΤΑΣΜΟΣ ΔΕΙΧΝΕΙ ΠΩΣ Η ΕΛΛΑΔΑ, ΚΑΙ ΙΔΙΩΣ Η ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΝΕΟΛΑΙΑ, ΕΙΝΑΙ ΣΥΝΟΔΟΙΠΟΡΟΣ ΜΑΣ ΣΕ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΤΗ ΔΙΑΔΡΟΜΗ. ΣΑΣ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ ΠΟΥ ΔΙΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΑΤΕ ΤΗΝ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΑΥΤΗ ΚΑΙ ΣΥΝΑΜΑ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΙΣΧΥΡΗ ΣΑΣ YΠΟΣΤΗΡΙΞΗ ΣΤΑ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΑ ΕΘΝΗ.


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