[UN Statement] Youth Awareness Raising Outreach on the Occasion of UN Day

Today, we have an excellent opportunity to interact with you, students of Harare International School, on the occasion of a very important day – the 67th birthday of the United Nations, officially set on 24 October of each year. In line with this celebration today, the UN will also be giving similar talks in five high schools in high density districts of Harare next week. In addition, to highlight the role of the UN, we are also organising a national symposium on energy and job creation.

As you know, the UN attaches great value to education. The state of schools and conditions of learning process are good signs of the level of progress and commitment of a community and a country to better the lives of its people.

UN day is an opportunity to highlight the aims and achievements of the United Nations. It is also a day that we remind ourselves that we always need to do more to ensure a better world for all of us.

The United Nations is the largest organisation promoting world peace and development. As a result, the United Nations continues to provide us with shared vision for a better world and a place to voice our beliefs no matter who we are and where we are from. The UN Charter, as the founding document of the UN, begins with these words, words that belong to each and every one of us: 
- All of us have the responsibility to promote human rights for all, equal rights of men and women, girls and boys and of nations large and small,
- We must ensure that all countries in the world respect their responsibilities under international law, and
- We must promote social progress and better standards of life for all.

So today, as we remember these words, let us do the same. Each one of us can do something good for our neighbour, our friend, our class mates, our community, our environment. Everything starts with taking a small step, doing what we can, one step at a time, so long as we do it with best intentions and give it our level best – it goes a long way.

As students, you can also play an important role in promoting peace and development. Do you know that globally 22,000 children die because of poverty every day, 72 million children of primary school age are not in school, and almost two in three people lack access to clean water, and as a result some 1.8 million children die each year from diarrhoea?

Here in Zimbabwe, the United Nations supports Zimbabwe in addressing national development priorities, mainly in the areas of HIV and AIDS, provision of Social Services, Food Security, advocating for gender equality, human rights, rule of law, and the protection of environment. To the effect, let me mention some of the recent contributions of the United Nations to Zimbabwe:

• Providing HIV treatment to around half a million people get treatment per year,
• Facilitating food assistance to about 1 and a half million people affected by drought,
• Providing support to ensure all laws in Zimbabwe respect the rights of women and men equally, 
• Facilitating to creation of jobs for youths and access to market for over rural women to sell their products,
• Providing over 90% of health facilities with medical supplies, and over 15 million text books to primary and secondary schools to ensure students in the public and community schools resume their studies, and
• Assisting over 5000 refugees living in Zimbabwe.

This work of the UN bears testimony to the commitment of the global community to turn the ideals of the United Nations into concrete actions.

Dear students, as you know, we are all interconnected and depend on one another. And most importantly, we all have something to learn from one another in making the world a better place. Your multi-national and multi-cultural school clearly shows that in today’s world, nothing is purely global or only local.  And, we can all contribute in our own way to improving the lives of those who need support.

Allow me to close my remarks with the words of our second UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, who lost his life while promoting peace. 50 years ago – he said:“Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”

With Education, there is no mountain in your life that you cannot conquer.  It is the means to liberate our minds, to make informed decision about our future, to lead a fulfilled life, to inspire others, and to leave a sound legacy for the generations to come. I highly encourage you to be committed in your studies and I wish us all a happy United Nations day.

Have wonderful celebrations. I thank you for your attention.