Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the discussion with Congressman Edward Royce, in Los Angeles on 10 August:
Good afternoon and thank you for your welcome. This day has been a long time coming. I have worked closely with Chairman Royce through the years. He has hosted me several times on Capitol Hill. It is good to finally have this chance to be together in California. I am sorry that it's not in Orange County, but he has brought his district here!
I know that serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee may seem like a very foreign assignment to constituents back home.
But Chairman Royce's leadership on a wide range of global issues has made a difference here and around the world. He has gone the extra mile in seeking to understand the concerns of people from Africa to Asia and beyond - and United States policy has been enriched as a result. I am here to thank him, and, through him, all of the members of his Committee.
America's engagement and generous spirit - and its strong support for the United Nations - deepen our shared values and advance our common security. People everywhere still look to the United States for leadership and with hope. They yearn for voices of empathy and inclusion. Voices of reason and respect for all.
I am looking forward to our dialogue. Let me begin with a few points. These are trying and turbulent times. A long-time veteran of the United Nations told me that he could not recall a similar period when so many crises hit the world at once.
Instability and conflict are rampant. Syria. Yemen. Libya and beyond. Too many people still struggle to feed their children, find decent work and live a life of dignity. More than 65 million people are displaced - the highest number on record. Goods move across borders with greater ease than ever. But so do diseases and weapons and extremist propaganda.
Yet two recent developments give us all hope. Last September, world leaders reached an historic agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - along with 17 integrated Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.
This 2030 Agenda and the SDGs are a blueprint to a world without poverty, free from hunger, with good health and education, gender equality and access to clean water, sanitation and energy. The Agenda calls on us to strive together for decent work, effective institutions, peace, justice and human rights. The goals are universal, applying to all countries, rich or poor. They are inclusive and mutually reinforcing. I have called it a Declaration of Interdependence.
Three months later, in December of 2015, leaders adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change, finally giving the world a far-reaching instrument to tackle one of our biggest challenges - achieving peace with nature. California is on the frontlines of global warming and on the cutting edge of addressing it. The world is secure when people are secure. We must work together at every level to deliver on these promises and leave no one behind.
I have come here from an event at the home of Norman Lear and with the creative community. They are using their talents to support the SDGs and the United Nations. From here I go to the Annenberg Foundation and an event to welcome newly resettled refugees. To my mind, those two events reflect the best of the United States. Your creative spirit and your giving, open heart.
We need to find that same spirit of generosity and imagination in all we do. We need to stand together and reject the cynics, the naysayers, the forces of fear and division.
The United States Constitution begins with the words: "We the people" and the United Nations Charter opens with: "We the peoples." Our founding values are the same: justice, equality, liberty and progress. Our challenge is to always strive to live up those ideals and make them real in people's lives.
Source: United Nations