14 December 2009

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"If Ever There Was a Time to Join Together in Common Cause, it Is Now"

Message on International Human Solidarity Day, 20 December 2009

VIENNA, 20 December (UN Information Service) - International Human Solidarity Day highlights the importance of collective action in addressing global challenges and meeting global development goals.

Solidarity with people affected by poverty and oppression is one of the founding principles of the United Nations. Based on equality, inclusion and social justice, solidarity implies a mutual obligation among all members of society and across the global community.

And that, in turn, should point the way toward partnerships and cooperation among all development actors - Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

This Day also has its roots in the declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit in 2000, in which Governments included solidarity as a fundamental value essential to international relations in the twenty-first century. "Global challenges", they said, "must be managed in a way that distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer or who benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most".

This International Day has added significance this year. It is estimated that as a result

of the global financial and economic crisis, as many as 100 million people may have fallen into poverty in 2009. At the same time, climate change poses an urgent, multi-dimensional and universal threat, endangering food security and access to water, and increasing the frequency

of catastrophic weather events. These crises cannot be addressed by individual States, and disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable, who are least equipped to deal with them. If ever there was a time to join together in common cause, it is now.

On this International Day, let us renew our commitment to human solidarity and collective action in building a better, safer world for all.

* *** *