Your Excellency Mr. Lee Joon-hee,
My fellow Co-Commissioner General, Mr. Samuel Koo,
Distinguished Commissioners, Directors and Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great honor to join you today as we celebrate the United Nations Day at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea.
On behalf of the 24 participating UN system agencies and international organizations, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank and congratulate the Korean Government, the Expo Organizing Committee and the city of Yeosu for successfully hosting the 2012 International Exposition on the theme of critical importance to humanity - The Living Ocean and Coast. It is very fitting that this marine Expo is taking place in the island-studded city of Yeosu in a country surrounded by sea on three sides and where green economy is on top of the national agenda.
We all know that our oceans and coasts face severe threat from climate change, coastal development, pollution and overfishing, just to name a few. Marine species are disappearing, sea level is rising and ocean chemistry, which ultimately affects fish production and our future, is changing at an alarming rate.
We need to take the responsibility for these changes. We need to act and we need to act fast.
I am very pleased that under the banner of "One UN", the UN Pavilion has showcased the UN's collective efforts to protect and sustainably use our oceans and coasts - one of the key priorities of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will be visiting the Expo in two days' time. During his visit, the Secretary-General will launch the Oceans Compact, which aims to promote coordinated action among various partners to effectively manage and conserve our oceans.
We are confident that together with other Pavilions, the UN Pavilion has helped to raise environmental awareness for over 7 million people who have visited the Expo. With better awareness comes wiser choices and actions; and in this regard, I trust that the Expo has moved us all towards a cleaner and bluer world of oceans and coasts. From the Climate Environment Pavilion to the Theme Pavilion, the Expo has also demonstrated the ingenuity and technology that we possess to implement the changes we want.
Let us continue to work together closely to create an environment that is healthy, sustainable and ecologically diverse. Our future depends on our actions today.
Thank you once again for joining us today, and I hope you enjoy the rest of our UN Day celebrations. The UN is for you.