New York, 5 September – Charity plays a significant role in the work of the United Nations and its agencies. Charity may come in many forms, from the volunteering of time and expertise to straightforward financial or in-kind donations by individuals, corporations or philanthropic foundations. Whatever the case, such generosity and kindness, with no expectation of financial gain, can make profound differences in human well-being.At times of intense fiscal and budgetary constraint, charity takes on greater importance in global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and implement what we hope will be an ambitious post-2015 agenda. While charity cannot be seen as a replacement or alternative to public spending, it plays an invaluable complementary role.
I welcome this second observance of the International Day of Charity, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of the Permanent Mission of Hungary, to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, whose life and good works for some of the human family’s poorest and most vulnerable members has been such an enormous inspiration.
Let us recognize charity for what it is at heart: a noble enterprise aimed at bettering the human condition. On this International Day, I call on people everywhere to act on the charitable impulse that resides in every human being — to start giving and to keep on giving.