Majesties, Heads of State and Government, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two years ago, speaking from this podium, I said that we stood at a fork in the road.
I did not mean that the United Nations, marking its sixtieth anniversary this year, was in existential crisis. The Organization remains fully engaged in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, defence of human rights, and development around the world.
No, I meant that deep divisions among Member States, and the underperformance of our collective institutions, were preventing us from coming together to meet the threats we face and seize the opportunities before us.
The clear danger was that States of all kinds might increasingly resort to self-help, leading to a proliferation of ad hoc responses that would be divisive, destabilizing, and dangerous.
To help you, the Member States, chart a more hopeful course, I appointed the High-level Panel, and commissioned the Millennium Project. Their reports set the agenda for reform.
Drawing on these reports and the early reactions of Member States, as well as my own conviction that our work must be based on respect for human rights, I put forward, six months ago, a balanced set of proposals for decisions at this Summit.
Those proposals were ambitious. But I believed they were necessary, given the era of peril and promise in which we live. And I believed they were achievable, if the political will was there.
Since then, under the able leadership of President Ping, your representatives have been negotiating an outcome document for this Summit. They have worked hard, right up to the last minute, and yesterday they produced the document that is now before you.
Even before they finished their work, this Summit served as a trigger for progress on critical issues. In recent months, a Democracy Fund has been created, and a convention against nuclear terrorism has been finalized.