What are some of humanity’s biggest challenges, and how can the public and private sectors work together to address them? These were questions addressed by United Nations leaders, government officials, business leaders, innovators, and experts during the 2017 World Government Summit, which focused on how governments can innovate and collaborate to build a better future.

A number of UN leaders, including Secretary-General António Guterres appeared at the summit, which took place from February 12-14. Key themes from the discussions include: the need to strengthen trust between citizens and institutions; the connections between development and peace; ways to advance climate action and sustainable development; the demand for new thinking to solve problems; and the importance of inclusive growth that leaves no one behind. 

Here are 14 quotes from UN leaders on the global challenges and solutions on humanity’s agenda.

  • Improving governance, and improving confidence between governments and people, is essential. – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
  • Without trust, we cannot face the difficult challenges in our world. – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
  • In a world in which all problems are global, there is no way countries can handle issues by themselves; we need global responses. – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
  • Climate change is already impacting the way we live, so it’s not for our grandchildren; it’s for us. – José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General
  • We have to tackle immediate humanitarian needs and at the same time invest in development. – Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President
  • I think the magnitude of the shared problems we have does require us to reinvigorate multilateral institutions. – Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
  • The ultimate renewable energy is human ingenuity. – Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General
  • Climate change is an issue that is at the very center of development. – Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Director
  • The SDGs are complex; lots of integration across government will be required to deliver the SDGs. – Ibrahim Thiaw, IUNEP Deputy Executive Director
  • A gradual, transparent approach to nuclear energy is important to promote social acceptance. – Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director
  • When it comes to education, “business as usual” is not an option. – Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General
  • The 2030 Agenda boldly states that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development. – Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
  • We need to change the whole food system; we need to change the way we produce food, and the way we eat it. – José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General
  • Education is directly linked to economic growth and prosperity, and is critical to promoting peace. – Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President

To learn more about the conversations at the summit, follow the hashtag #WorldGovSummit and watch video interviews on the UN Foundation Facebook page: http://facebook.com/unitednationsfoundation.