Today ushers in a new year – and a new era of sustainable development as we launch the Sustainable Development Goals.
Last year, the United Nations brought the international community together to adopt a set of global goals and to reach a landmark agreement to address the threat of climate change. Together, the world created a shared vision of the future: a world where no one lives in poverty, everyone has opportunity, and we have addressed the threats of climate change and environmental destruction.
In 2015, we defined the future. In 2016, we have to move from vision to action.
Each of us has a role to play in translating our global agenda from words to change. Whether it’s advocating with your leaders, volunteering in your community, or helping people around the world get a hand up to move from poverty to prosperity, everyone can do something.
As we look to deliver on the promises we made last year, partnership will be more important than ever. We’ve increasingly seen the connections between our challenges: climate change impacts health, sanitation impacts nutrition, and humanitarian emergencies impact development, for example.The old way of doing things won’t get us to where we need to go. We need to break down silos – between issues and between constituencies – and work together to drive real change.
Most importantly, we have to keep people at the center of all we do.
In the coming months and years, we will need to take many steps to achieve our goals, including prioritizing empowering girls and women in the global agenda and bridging our humanitarian and development efforts to address the needs of today’s displaced people and refugees.
Until all people – regardless of their gender, their economic status, and their location – have the chance to thrive, our work will not be done.
This year, the United Nations Foundation will continue our work to connect you to the United Nations, the global platform for peace and progress.
We live in a time of great challenge, but also great possibility. Thanks for your support, and let’s get to work with the UN in 2016.
I’ll end with the wise words of Nelson Mandela, who said: “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”