This year’s observance of United Nations Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations.
Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet.
The world is also moving at long last beyond the mindset which viewed the burning of fossil fuels as the path to prosperity. At a time of record heat, Member States have embraced the Paris Agreement on climate change in record time. This landmark measure will enter into force on 4 November. Across that historic threshold lies our best chance for greener, cleaner, low-carbon growth.
The United Nations is also in transition, from its eighth Secretary-General to the ninth. I have been honoured to serve “we the peoples” for the past ten years. Together, we have put in place some solid foundations for shared progress – which we must build on by working even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all. But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak — including unresolved conflicts causing immense suffering throughout the troubled Middle East, South Sudan, the Sahel and beyond. On these and other frontlines of violence and disaster, courageous UN staff continue to rise to the occasion and respond to the plight of the vulnerable.
I thank people across the world for their support — and urge all to give their full backing to Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres in continuing our global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.
The eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations
In commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the United Nations, the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Korea’s membership with the UN and the 70th anniversary of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), the UN Orchestra – comprised of 70 staff of Geneva-based UN and international organizations – was invited to perform in the “Music for Peace” Concert on 24 October at Kyung Hee University Peace Concert Hall in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
As the first concert ever performed by the UN Orchestra in Asia, this year’s event delivered the message of peace and unity to over 3,000 audiences by playing “Ode to Peace” by Pablo Casals, “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff with pianist Im Mi-jung, “Symphony No. 5” by Tchaikovsky, followed by Korea’s famous symbolic folk song called “Arirang”, arranged by North Korean composer Choi Sung-hwan.
Moreover, the UN Association of the Republic of Korea invited the representatives of UN Offices in the Republic of Korea to come together to celebrate this remarkable day and reaffirm a strong relationship which continues to exist between the UN and the Republic of Korea. Mr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director of ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, took this opportunity to read the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the UN Day following the welcoming remarks by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of the Republic of Korea.
In addition, ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, UNHCR, WFP and WFUNA were among the participating organizations in the UN and International Organization Exhibition alongside the Concert to raise the awareness of the roles and activities of the UN. It served as a significant platform for the UN and International Organizations in the Republic of Korea to further develop their amicable and collaborative relationship.