Dear fellow citizens of the world,
Last New Year, I issued a red alert, and the dangers I mentioned still persist. These are anxious times for many, and our world is undergoing a stress test.
Climate change is running faster than we are.
Geo-political divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve.
And record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection.
Inequality is growing. And people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity.
Intolerance is on the rise.
Trust is on the decline.
But there are also reasons for hope.
The talks on Yemen have created a chance for peace.
The agreement signed in Riyadh in September between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased long-running tensions and brought improved prospects to an entire region.
And the agreement between the parties to the conflict in South Sudan has revitalized chances for peace, bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years.
The United Nations was able to bring countries together in Katowice to approve the Work Programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Now we need to increase ambition to beat this existential threat.
It’s time to seize our last best chance.
It’s time to stop uncontrolled and spiraling climate change.
In recent weeks, the United Nations also oversaw landmark global agreements on migration and refugees, that will help to save lives and overcome damaging myths.
And everywhere, people are mobilizing behind the Sustainable Development Goals – our global blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet.
When international cooperation works, the world wins.
In 2019, the United Nations will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions.
We will keep up the pressure.
And we will never give up.
As we begin this New Year, let’s resolve to confront threats, defend human dignity and build a better future — together.
I wish you and your families a peaceful and healthy New Year.