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22 Oct 2013
Your Excellency Dr. Abbas Aragchi, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Ms. Helen Clark, Chair of the UN Development Group and Administrator of UNDP,
Mr. Peiman Saedat, Director for International Specialized Agencies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Friends of the United Nations,
My colleagues working in the UN,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are pleased that you can join us for this special day – which commemorates our founding – and which allows us to recommit ourselves to the noble founding ideals which started the UN, 68 years ago.
Back in 1945, the world was a very different place. But amid the darkness and devastation of World War II, and the horrors of the first atomic bombs used in combat, it was also a year which saw the dawning of a bright new hope.
On 24 October – the day we celebrate today – in the year 1945, the United Nations Charter entered into force. And the United Nations was born.
Your Excellency, Dr. Araghchi, thank you and the many Iranians here in this hall today – and the representatives from over 70 – for coming to celebrate United Nations Day with us.
A special welcome also to Ms. Helen Clark for travelling half way across the world to be here today. In doing so, she symbolizes the energy and vision with which the United Nations wishes to support the Islamic Republic of Iran – one of our founding Member States – at this crucial time in its history.
Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The UN exists to make positive change possible.
Universal peace – security – regional and international cooperation – equality – self-determination – mutual respect – and fundamental freedoms…
…these are the purposes of the United Nations, as set down in our Charter. This Charter has, for 68 years, remained the living, beating heart of our organization.
These noble goals direct our efforts. They guide our work – and our destiny. They inspire our commitment to a better future – a shared future.
One wise supporter of the UN – who actually helped to draft the UN Charter – once wrote:
“The United Nations exists not merely to preserve the peace but also to make change possible – even radical change – [but] without violent upheaval. The United Nations has no vested interest in the status quo. It seeks a more secure world. A better world. A world of progress for all peoples… .”
During the course of the next hour-and-a-half, you will come to glimpse the benefits which have been produced by the partnership between Iran and the United Nations during the past 6 decades.
It is clear that the next big challenge for the United Nations, our Member States, and the peoples of the world, is the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable future.
Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At this point in history, global and national institutions are being put to the test. So we must now raise our collective efforts.
To the staff of the United Nations family in the Islamic Republic of Iran – most of whom are gathered in this hall today – I say that – working together as One UN, we must help to support the immense and positive changes now taking place.
In this way, we can contribute to making development more inclusive and more sustainable for the people of Iran – and the people of our planet.
The key to this change will be our work, and that of our Member States and civil society partners, in the big final push to 2015 on the Millennium Development Goals.
But we also must move beyond this. We must help to forge the post-2015 sustainable development framework – and we must and then make it work.
Sustainable development will be the face of the UN Charter for the 21st Century.
I would like to end today by recalling the words of our former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, who said:
“We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it – that is ours”.
So, let us – together – frame the Future We Want.
And let us do this through positive change grounded on the principles and values of the United Nations.
Please join me in wishing the United Nations a very happy birthday today.
Thank you all.
Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Iran