New York, 28th September, 2015 (WAM) – Facing a world where inequality is growing, trust is fading, and impatience with leadership can be seen and felt far and wide, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set the stage for 70th General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly today with a call to “translate promises on paper to action on the ground” by backing a bold new sustainability agenda that aims to wipe out poverty and build a sustainable future for all.

“Our aim is clear. Our mission is possible. And our destination is in our sights: an end to extreme poverty by 2030; a life of peace and dignity for all,” the Secretary-General declared, noting that this session of the General Assembly had opened with a “towering achievement”: the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for, including 17 inspiring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What counts now is translating those promises on paper into real change, said the UN chief, adding: “We owe this and much more to the vulnerable, the oppressed, the displaced and the forgotten people in our world. We owe this to ‘succeeding generations,’ in the memorable words the Charter.

“In this year in which we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, we must heed the call of the Charter, and hear the voices of ‘we the peoples.’ That is how we can overcome the grim realities of the present — and seize the remarkable opportunities of our era,” declared the Secretary-General.

Mr. Ban’s annual opening message, which draws from his yearly report on the work of the Organization turned next to the pressing challenges of the day. Suffering is at heights not seen in a generation, he said, explaining that one hundred million people require humanitarian assistance. At least 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes or their countries.

“The United Nations has asked for nearly $20 billion to meet this year’s needs – six times the level of a decade ago. UN humanitarian agencies and our partners are braving difficult conditions to reach people. Member States have been generous, but demands continue to dwarf funding,” said the Secretary-General, urging all countries to do more to alleviate suffering in countries across the world, from war–torn Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria, to Gambia, where one in four children suffers from stunting, and the UN appeal “has been met with silence.