Thank you Mr. Pioli. Good morning everyone of the members of UNCA. It’s a great pleasure to see you and Happy New Year to you all, your families and your companies. In fact, I had planned to exchange New Year’s greetings with you all together at the beginning of the New Year – but as you all understand, today a very terrible terrorist attack has happened. So I’d like to say a few words firstly, before I begin to say something.

Thank you Mr. Pioli. Good morning everyone of the members of UNCA. It’s a great pleasure to see you and Happy New Year to you all, your families and your companies.

In fact, I had planned to exchange New Year’s greetings with you all together at the beginning of the New Year – but as you all understand, today a very terrible terrorist attack has happened. So I’d like to say a few words firstly, before I begin to say something.

I want to express my outrage at the despicable attack today against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.  It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold–blooded crime.  It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of democracy – on the media and freedom of expression.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families and my best wishes to all those injured. We stand with the Government and people of France.

I trust that the French authorities will do all in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly.

This horrific attack is meant to divide.  We must not fall into that trap. 

This is a moment for solidarity.  Around the world, we must stand strong for freedom of expression and tolerance and stand against forces of division and hate. 

Permettez–moi de dire quelques mots en français :

Je suis consterné et profondément bouleversé par l’attaque contre Charlie Hebdo ce matin à Paris. Cet acte de violence ne peut en aucun cas être justifié. Il s’agit d’une attaque contre la liberté d’expression et la liberté de la presse – deux piliers de la démocratie.

Cette attaque vise à diviser. Nous ne devons pas tomber dans ce piège.

Je tiens à exprimer ma solidarité avec le gouvernement et le peuple français. Mes pensées vont aussi aux familles et proches des victimes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will speak to you at the press stakeout tomorrow afternoon, after I brief the Member States of the General Assembly on the way forward for this year 2015, and I’ll have an opportunity of engaging in questions and answers tomorrow afternoon.

As the year begins, I do want to make a plea for you to keep focusing on all those in need around the world, so that their stories are not forgotten.

Whether they are migrants stranded on ghost ships in the Mediterranean…

Or young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria…

Or displaced families struggling through another harsh winter in Syria and the wider region…

They are people who deserve the world's attention and support.

Thank you for all you have done to bring their stories to light.  I will be counting on you to do even more to give voice to the voiceless this year.

Again, it’s a great pleasure to see you, Mr. Giampaolo Pioli, at the helm of UNCA at this busy time for a second mandate and congratulations on your very important responsibility. 

And I would like to pay my tribute and thanks to Ms. Pamela Falk, who was an excellent President of UNCA until last year and for all she has been doing for UNCA these past years.

And to all of you, members of UNCA, thank you for your strong and productive relationship and strong support for the United Nations and I count on your engagement all the time. This is going to be a very important year for humanity.

We have to meet the target of the Millennium Development Goals and shape the post–2015 Development Agenda and adopt a universal, meaningful climate change agreement in December in Paris. Again, with all these priorities, I look forward to seeing you again and working very closely with you. I’ll be very happy always to make myself available.

I wish you all the best.

Thank you very much. Merci.