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Excmo. Sr. Ban Ki-moon

Discurso del Sr. D. Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon, secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, dando su discurso de agradecimiento tras recibir su medalla de honor

Acto Ad hoc, 28 de Octubre de 2015.

Profesor Juan Romo Urroz Rector de la Universidad Carlos III, Ilustrísima señora Sara Hernández Barroso Alcaldesa de Getafe, distinguidos miembros del claustro de profesores, señores representantes del cuerpo diplomático, queridos estudiantes, señoras y señores.


Es para mí un privilegio recibir esta medalla de honor de la universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Es una muestra de su estima por las naciones Unidas. La acepto en nombre de los funcionarios de las Naciones Unidas que prestan y han prestado servicios por todo el mundo. Ellos son la fuerza motor de nuestra organización y su principal motivo de orgullo. Esta medalla de honor es para ellos.


Excellencies, dear students, ladies and gentlemen. It’s wonderful to be back in Spain. This is my eleventh visit as Secretary General. In fact I visited Spain more than I visited my own country, Korea. I’ll never forget two years ago, when I had the chance to make the ceremonial opening football kick at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. My jersey number was “1000”, to publicize one thousand days until the end of the millennium development goals, our global anti-poverty campaign. I’m very glad that you have started to analyze all the achievements of the MDGs. I hope all the students will know what the UN, the international community, have been doing to realize these millennium development goals.


Ladies and gentleman I understand that football is very sensitive in your country. My job as a Secretary General is not to make any problem but to keep peace, so I don’t have any favorite team in Spain. In fact I cheer for all Spanish teams since so many teams and players support the United Nations’ cause. Raúl González promotes our work to nhonga?  Iker Casillas shines his spotlight on the UN Development program. Eusebio Sacristán stands for children’s rights through UNICEF, and so does the basketball great Pau Gasol. I deeply appreciate these superstars and others from Spain who stand with the United Nations. And I look to the students of Carlos III University, and youth across Spain, to help our job in a due future for this country and our world.


Ladies and gentlemen, dear students, when I was young my middle school principal told us which has been my moto and my guideline of my life, for almost 60 years, «keep your head above the clouds, but keep your two feet on the ground, and move step by step» this means, in other words, set your sights on high ideals, but advance in the real world. You must understand the reality which surrounds you.


Today I speak about the problems we face, and how to respond, based on our ideals. But I’ll address three major things. First, economic uncertainty and opportunity in the world. Second, Spain’s role in the international stage. And third, your potential as global citizens.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for Spain, Europe and the world. You may feel very frustrated, and concerned about your own prospect. Spain, like many other countries, is facing difficult job challenge. Young people are hit the hardest. Many understandably look for opportunities abroad. You may be wondering what will happen after you graduate, I understand the problems and I see reasons for hope. Sadly we are living in an era of peril, many challenges, but this also can be a moment of promise and hope. There are many startup companies in Spain. With the right momentum, they can generate new jobs, if Spain unlocks the potential of medium sized enterprises, it will push prosperity. Tomorrow evening, I will meet with the leading Spanish business directors will urge them to realize the potential of the green economy. And more countries and companies realize that the challenge of climate change is also an opportunity for sustainable prosperity.


The Climate Change Conference in Paris starting from November 30th until December, should be a global turning point.  We count on individuals and business to help our … in …. our future. The Climate Change is just one area where we can create a new market of due path to prosperity. Last month at the United Nations, where all global leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development goals, with 17 sustainable development goals, and with 169 targets. Which you have already heard from your professor. It is a blueprint very ambitious, very visionary blueprint to end poverty from this planet earth, by 2030, create peaceful societies, and a life of dignity for all the people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or whatever your status may be. This is a people centered, and planet friendly vision, adopted by all world leaders, and Spain. The New Sustainable Development Goals apply to all the countries, all the people, and our planet Earth. Right now the SDGs, which we call SDGs- sustainable development goals-, as we have been calling MDGs, are a promise. We have to pressure our leaders, and business communities, and civil societies, to keep their promise. The promise was made by world leaders, and they have to be accountable to this, and deliver results. I constantly ask world leaders, political leaders, why is there so much money, enough money, to buy weapons, while there is always no money to invest in peoples? I have been calling on states to provide more funds for women’s equality, health, education and opportunities for youth to contribute to peace. When we put people first, our priorities will be straight. And that will secure our common future.


Honorable professors, ladies and gentlemen, dear students, tomorrow will mark the 60th anniversary of Spain’s membership and leadership in the United Nations, that’s why maybe I’m here, to celebrate together with you. We just celebrated 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Spain is a champion on peace-keeping, the rule of law, the fight against poverty and the battle for human rights, particularly for agenda empowerment. And I’d like to congratulate the people and Government of Spain, and I in fact congratulated Prime Minister Rajoy this morning, during the current the chairman presidency of the Security Council for the month of October, the PM Rajoy he himself came and presided over a very important meeting. This reviewing of the legendary Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security.


With my limited experience of 9 years as Secretary General, I had never seen so many countries take part in that. First of all the theme was a very important one, gender empowerment. And that means all the world’s leaders were committed to do this. And more than a hundred, exactly 110 countries took part. I think this is the highest record number of any debate in the Security Council open debate. And especially great for PM Rajoy for using Spain’s presidency of the SC to focus on humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria, Yemen; and Spain has also engaged on the middle east peace process. We are all very concerned about the rising tensions. Just last week I was in Israel and Palestine and Jordan, and I had very serious talks with the leaders of Israel and Palestine. My main message was that please avoid violence, deescalate the current situation, please respect human lives, instead of just shooting at helpless children, young people. Just think twice why they are throwing stones: out of anger, out of frustration, when they have been living under occupation for 56 years. They have no way to go, that’s why they were throwing stones, and sometimes wielding knives. (30:00) I don’t suggest that that was the proper way, that’s not something they should do. I told President Abbas, please make sure to harness the energy of your people, passion of your people, to use in a peaceful way, to realize your aspiration and dreams to have an independent State, to make it a reality, to harness your energy in a peaceful way. So I have been really urging the leaders and people of both Israel and Palestine to sit down together to address all the root causes. They have been negotiating so many years so they have all the issues, they know what are the issues, so it’s a matter of choice, it’s a matter of political leadership and vision. And I appreciate the Spanish government for strong engagement in this middle east peace process.


Ladies and gentleman, there are so many crisis, so many conflicts and wars, that’s why we have now 60 million refugees. 60 million people who are now refugees. Who fled their country. This is the historic record after the end of the second ww. I stand with all those who have been forced to flee their homes and I call on all countries to share the burden of their plead. The United Nations is rushing relief aid to suffering people, and we are confronting the root causes and working for lasting solutions. I know that most of the European countries are suffering and trying to address all these challenges of migrants and refugees coming either from Africa, from Syria. Why do you think they are fleeing their countries?


Unless they flee, they know that their life will be either die, so they risk their lives. Rather than just dying sitting, they try to find better and even small better opportunities to save their lives. I know it’s a huge domestic political challenge to address these millions of peoples coming to this continent. My message has been always consistently to EU’s please show your compassion and leadership and global solidarity; it’s not the crisis of number, it’s a crisis of global solidarity.


I have been visiting all the refugee camps, starting from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Irak, and the Dadaab Camp in Somalia, and I have been meeting with the refugees on Italy, Slovakia, and I may have an opportunity to meet refugees in Madrid. But United Nations priority in addressing this refugee and migrant issue is that saving human lives, providing life saving humanitarian assistance, then we have to address why this is happening like this, we have to address root causes, there is no other solution, no other alternatives but political dialogue. There is no military solutions. Therefore we are working very hard to bring political solution to Syria, Libya, and Somalia and Central African Republic, Mali, Southern Sudan. There are so many crisis at this time, but if we are united, we can solve this problem.


Ladies and gentleman, in this regard, we count on Spain. And specially on the Government’s focus on mediation, the United Nations would much rather invest in preventing a conflict before it starts, rather than addressing the devastation while it rages. This country has a rich history of bringing together different cultures and faith, Spain understands that leaders who build walls and divide communities are doomed to fail in the 21st century. Leaders who forge understanding and strengthen ones, will endure. 60 years ago when Spain joined the UN, the organization was a centered-one government, but now the government cannot do it alone. There is no such country, however powerful, however resourceful one may be, they cannot do it alone. Likewise, United Nations, the largest, most legitimate, most universal organization, we cannot do it. I think all the hands should be on there. We have to cooperate each other. We have to get support from business communities, we have to have all civil societies, NGOs and even philanthropists, they should all walk together. The United Nations is still the prime organization of governments, but we are still walking, walk closer than ever with other partners. That is why I meet with activists, business leaders, that is why we have close ties with non-governmental organizations- NGOs-, that is why all of you can do your own part.


Six decades ago, the United Nations was largely run by men. There were no women. I’m proud to say that we are no longer mostly a boys club. I have appointed many more women to top jobs of the United Nations than ever before in history. Women now serve the United Nations far beyond the so-called traditional fields. They command our troops, peace-keepers, women. Women had our peace-keeping missions, and lead tough negotiations, in crisis hotspots. To the female students here, in this university, I say follow these sisters who have shown such a great leadership, join their ranks, and prove the power of women to change our world. You have my full support.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear students, when I was your age we chose our career path early and we followed it for life. The world has changed dramatically since then. Globalization has transformed the landscape of our life. Advances in technology, communication, have democratized the whole world. International policy is still set by governments, but it’s driven by people. It may be the President or the Prime Minister who set the goals, policies, but it should be supported and it should be driven with a full engagement of the people on the ground. We live at a time that can bring either fear or fortune, I hope you seize this moment. Take up challenge, create new solutions, join forces with the United Nations. Be a global citizen. I’m telling the students particularly, you are living in this very prosperous democratic society. Just think, how many students, or people of your age, are suffering from poverty, abuse of human rights, and diseases? I think, I urge you to turn your eyes, turn your hands, beyond the boundary of Spain . Be a Global Citizen. Have a strong passion, but at the same time you should have compassion for others. When you combine passion and compassion you can be a global citizen, the United Nations needs global citizenship. Help lead humanity to a new future.


Excelencias, señoras y señores, queridos estudiantes, el fundador de esta universidad, Gregorio Peces-Barba, fue también uno de los padres de la Constitución Española y un gran defensor de los derechos humanos. Era también un firme creyente en el poder de los seres humanos para cambiar el mundo. Cualquiera que sea el camino que ustedes tomen en el mundo, manténganse siempre fieles a los valores que han aprendido aquí y ayuden a crear un futuro mejor para todos.


Let’s work together to make this world better for all, where everybody can live with human dignity, and let’s work for our subsiding generation. This may be our world, our time. But let’s work for the future generation. And I count on your strong commitment and leadership.


Muchas gracias.