On UN Day, Secretary-General Tells Students to Make a World 7 Billion "Strong"

24 October 2011
Author: UNFPA
Twelfth and eleventh-grade students of New Exploration into Science, Mathematics and Technology(NEST) School hold up their signs, on the theme "I Am One of Seven Billion", as they await an address by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for UN Day. Photo :UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

NEW YORK — “Let us make this a world of 7 billion people strong,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told students at a high school he visited on UN Day, the annual commemoration of the formation of the United Nations.

“Whether the seven billionth child will be born with the blessings or will be born in a world of contradiction, we have to nurture him or her as much as we can so that this baby can live without any fear to become a leader of this society. That is the commitment,” he said.

During his visit with students at New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (Nest+m) High School, Mr. Ban announced the one-week countdown to 31 October, when the world population will reach – and surpass -- seven billion. He encouraged students to engage with 7 Billion Actions - a global initiative to confront the challenges and seize opportunities offered by the new population milestone.

Mr. Ban also pointed out that 7 billion is not the story of a number. “It is the story of people. Seven billion people who need enough food, enough energy, good opportunities in life for job, education, rights and freedom.”

Students presented to the Secretary General a statement on their commitments for making the world a better place.

The visit was part of the UN4U annual outreach programme. On this day, UN staff at all levels travel to New York city public high schools in the five boroughs to promote this year’s theme: “Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference in Everyday Life.” In a brainstorming session following the visit, several Nest+m juniors and seniors discussed ways to make a world of 7 Billion a more equitable place to live. Their ideas are to be presented to UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin within the next month.

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