Secretary-General’s Remarks at “Ceremony for the Planting of the Tree of Peace and Unity to Commemorate the End of the Second World War and the Establishment of the United Nations” – 5 May 2015

Your Excellency Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly,

Your Excellency Mr. Andrei Dapkiunas, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the United Nations,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Government of Belarus and the many Member States that have joined together to make today’s ceremony possible.

In establishing the United Nations 70 years ago, the founders planted the seeds of an organization they hoped would lead the human family out of horror and into a better future.

The soil at that time ran deep with blood – the blood of the brave soldiers of many nations who died fighting fascism, and of the millions of victims of the Holocaust and the other crimes of the Second World War. I am thinking of, again, tens of millions of civilians who had died without knowing why they had to die.

But though the ground was troubled, the new Organization took root and grew.  It was nurtured by the flame of human rights, the burden-sharing of collective security, and our common belief in human development.

Today the United Nations can look back on a proud record of accomplishment.  But we also know that there have been many setbacks along the path, and that today’s landscape is scarred by conflict and turmoil.

There is much distance still to travel until the seeds sown seven decades ago blossom into lives of dignity and peace for all.

In planting this tree today, we remember all those who have died and sacrificed in pursuing the mission set out in the Charter of the United Nations and we re-dedicate ourselves to the founding aims and ideals of the United Nations.

Thank you.

New York, 5 May 2015