Secretary-General’s message to staff at the Opening of the General Debate

By | 24 September 2012

New York – As the 67th session of the General Assembly gets under way, I wish to thank you for your commitment and hard work. At this moment of turbulence and transition, people and Governments are turning to us for help in charting a peaceful, sustainable, equitable path for all. The enduring centrality of our United Nations is a tribute to you, the staff, and the inspiring work you do every day across the world.

The period ahead may well be one of our busiest ever. Most immediately, high-level meetings and other events during the General Debate in New York will address the crises in Syria and the Sahel, and seek to advance our work on the rule of law, disarmament and the Millennium Development Goals, including through the launch of a new initiative, “Education First”. In the weeks and months ahead, the Assembly will set in motion a global effort to articulate a post-2015 development agenda and establish a set of sustainable development goals – two hugely important undertakings that will guide our work for years to come.

People have high hopes for the United Nations; they need results and solutions now; they want to know we are moving in the right direction. Yet on issues ranging from climate change to unresolved conflicts and unrestrained spending on deadly weapons, I am concerned that the international community is not responding in ways that match the depth of our problems or the intensity of people’s aspirations. In my address to the membership next week, I intend to highlight specific areas where world leaders — and we ourselves — need to raise our level of ambition.

This challenge – how to operate better in a fast-changing environment — was the centrepiece of the discussions earlier this month at the senior leadership retreat in Turin. There was a keen sense of the need to adapt quickly to the changing global environment. I stressed the value of collaboration, not competition, within our ranks; while each of us should be proud of our respective programmes or departments, those identities matter far less than our ability to deliver as one across the full spectrum of our agenda. The retreat also gave senior leadership an opportunity to talk about a range of issues, among them the resource constraints faced by the Organization, budgetary matters, change management and ethics. As we move ahead, we are committed to engaging with staff around the globe on these and other questions.

The world is at a crossroads. I look forward to continuing our shared efforts to rise to the challenges of this complex time of change in world affairs and in the life of our United Nations.

Sincerely yours,

BAN Ki-moon

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