A day after attending the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reached the Capital on Monday for an event organised to mark UN’s 70th anniversary. The event, ‘The Future We Want’, was organised to discuss “the legacy we want to pass on to our children and great-grandchildren”. UN goodwill ambassador Sachin Tendulkar, UNICEF national ambassador Sharmila Tagore, nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi and actor-activist Nandita Das shared the stage with the UN Secretary-General.
Speaking at the event, Ban Ki-moon said: “I have received a lot of applause in India. But this evening, I seem to be the least popular person on the stage.” He added: “I am indeed honoured that such individuals are lending their names to the UN cause.” Pointing towards Tendulkar, he said, “The god of cricket will now bat for the UN.”
In his 20-minute address, he reiterated UN’s commitment to giving equal rights and entitlement to “those with different sexual orientation”.
On the occasion, the UN launched a slogan, “Young at 70”. On this, Ban Ki-moon said, “You can’t write ‘young’ without ‘un’. So the initiative is to involve young people with the UN, specially because India is a country with the most young people, and is celebrating National Youth Day today.”
Tendulkar said that after his retirement, the first responsibility he took up was to become UNICEF ambassador for sanitation and hand-washing. “With the grace of almighty, it won’t be a disappointing innings,” he said.
Tagore, on the other hand, pointed out how maternal healthcare was important to deliver a safe future to the children. She also spoke of gender parity and increasing the lifespan of parents so that children are not rendered orphans. Satyarthi’s address focused on child slavery. “The number of child labourers across the world may have been declining, but the number of child slaves has remained 5.5 million since the last 15 years. We want to give our children a future without bondage,” he said.