Your Royal Highness,
Excellencies and colleagues,
I am honoured -- as UN Secretary-General and as an Asian -- to speak to you on this historic occasion. With the birth of ESCAP 60 years ago, the United Nations began a long and fruitful partnership with the countries of Asia and the Pacific.
Since those early days, in a region still traumatized by the Second World War, our partnership has come a long way. ESCAP has carved out a unique role in regional advocacy, consensus-building and cooperation. Its work is supported by solid policy research and analysis. It has fostered collaborative approaches to challenges ranging from disaster management to trade facilitation. It has helped Governments address sensitive and emerging issues, including population trends and human trafficking.
Throughout these six decades, ESCAP has worked closely with the peoples of the Asia-Pacific in their endeavours to build freedom from fear and freedom from want. Today, this region of four billion people is a powerhouse for global economic growth.
It is my privilege on this occasion to pay tribute to two champions of freedom and progress: Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn, and Professor Sen.
Your Royal Highness, through your tireless efforts to promote development, you set an example for us all.
Professor Sen, your accomplishments underscore the moral imperative of our collective fight against poverty.
It is moving that you are both present at this celebration, dedicated to “building an Asia-Pacific century”.
Mr. Prime Minister, I thank the people and Government of Thailand for graciously hosting the United Nations all these years. And I thank Dr. Kim Hak-su for his outstanding leadership of ESCAP these seven years.
On this anniversary, I send my warmest wishes for a splendid celebration, and above all, for an ever stronger partnership between the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific region in the years ahead.
Thank you very much.