On behalf of the entire United Nations Country Team, welcome to our UN Day celebrations!
[Protocol and Acknowledgement]
Give yourselves a round of applause.
Today, we are recognizing the anniversary of the United Nations which came into effect 74 years ago.
Post-World War 2, the United Nations was founded to support collective action to realize peace, development and human rights for all people everywhere. After more than 7 decades, the world continues to face immense challenges – persisting poverty, gender inequality, obstacles to quality education, and emerging issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, and conflict and insecurity. To address these complex issues, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
With just ten years to go to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we thought it prudent to bring you all together in a national conversation to reflect on what each of us can contribute to make this reality in Jamaica. Young people demonstrated tremendous ability to trigger global movement toward the SDGs. Malala Yousafzai at the age of 15, stood up for the right to education, especially girls’ rights to education, even at great risk to her life. Greta Thunberg is another young person who inspired millions of persons toward the global movement to address climate change and challenged the global leaders for their lack of adequate action.
There are also numerous young people in Jamaica who are advocating for key issues - climate change, violence against children, among others. Jhannel Tomlinson, who you will hear from today, is one such youth. We are proud of young people like her, who are standing up for causes to ensure that development is not just for a privileged few but is the right enjoyed by all. I fully believe in the role of youth in building the future we want.
The UN System in Jamaica has also been actively engaged in working alongside the Government of Jamaica and other partners. Already, through our Joint Human Security Project, we are supporting rural and vulnerable communities in building climate resilience, improving environmental health and securing sustainable access to safe water. These efforts will help us meet SDG 6, 9 and 12. Do you know what these SDGs are? Don’t worry, you will learn more today.
Later this year, as one UN family, and in partnership with the Government of Jamaica and civil society partners, we will launch the European Union-funded ‘Spotlight Initiative’ to address Family violence as an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls in Jamaica. We intend to make major inroads in SDG 5 for gender equality but also addressing SDG 16 for peace and justice, SDG 3 for health and well-being as well as SDG 4 for quality education.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Sustainable Development Goals are not about politics. Action is required from classrooms and boardrooms and from community centres as well as parliaments. We must engage young people as your future is most impacted by today’s actions. We must also engage those whose voices are often unheard in national and global affairs.
To borrow a few words from UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, ‘we need your opinions, your strategies and your ideas for us to be able to deliver better for the people of the world that we must serve.’
Let’s join hands and heart and take determined action for our planet and for Jamaica land we love.
Together has no limits. So, we are glad you’re here. Welcome again to UN Day 2019.