Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator at a Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial Facebook live Discussion

Today, we have a lot to learn from Dag Hammarskjold. We can learn about the importance of peace. Let us all be peace makers.

Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator Dr Coumba Mar Gadio

Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial Facebook live Discussion 17 September 2020 (14:30 – 15:45)


  • The Swedish Ambassador to Zambia, Her Excellency Ms Anna Maj Hultgård
  • The General Secretary for the National Youth Development Council, Mr Musonda
  • Ms. Karin Abbor-Svensson, Programme Manager, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, who is joining us from Sweden
  • The Representative from the Copperbelt University Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • UN colleagues
  • All the youth who have joined us including musicians Wezi, B Flo and Joseph Pupe
  • UN75 Associates, Coordinators and YUNA members
  • The media
  • Ladies and gentlemen


I am honoured to join you on virtual event when we commemorate 59 years of the death of the second United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Dag Hammarskjöld who died in Ndola while on a mission to bring peace to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic Congo.


Today we celebrate his life and his achievements.


Dag Hammarskjöld served as UN Secretary General with integrity and a deep passion to bring peace.


Right from the start of his term in 1953, he was aware of the huge task that he had to bring unity to be compounded by the Cold War but he looked ahead with optimism and knew he could make a difference.


His qualities as a careful planner and proven negotiator enabled him resolve several conflicts. He was a true diplomat from whom we can learn today.


As the UN Secretary General His Excellency Mr. António Guterres said on Tuesday during this year’s event at New York Headquarters to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld:


“Although he had a diverse diplomatic career and was a man of many

interests, Dag Hammarskjöld’s name is forever linked to the United Nations. Until his tragic passing, he led our Organization with courage and purpose, and we owe him a lot.”


As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we must remember that

Dag Hammarskjöld played a key role in shaping the United Nations into a peacemaking and peacekeeping organization.


And just as he himself exuded personality, humility, so did he stress that the Organization, while also not perfect, nonetheless embodied a fierce commitment to advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights.


More than sixty years ago, he spoke of our world as becoming ever more connected -- a world in which, and I quote, “the weakness of one is the weakness of all, and the strength of one is indirectly the strength of all”.


Today, his words and vision are more timely than ever.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have once again seen that international solidarity is no longer a choice, but an obligation. This sentiment has been expressed by many people during the on-going UN75 campaign through which the United Nations wants to hear global voices on the future we want amid the COVID-19 crisis. We need to work together to stop the spread of the virus and in ensuring that we find a vaccine that is accessible to all.

We also need to work together to recover better, protect the most vulnerable and reduce the inequalities heightened by the pandemic.

Today, we have a lot to learn from Dag Hammarskjold. We can learn about the importance of peace. Let us all be peace makers and always remember that peace is the building block to Sustainable Development.

As we have this year entered the last 10 years of the Sustainable Development Goals, we should keep in mind that without peace there can be NO sustainable Development. Let us use this Decade of Action to foster peace for us to have the future that we want.


I am happy to note that so many young people have joined this event today. It is important that you, the youth, take a keen interest in ensuring that Zambia continues to enjoy the peace that has been in this nation since independence. As the future of this nation, the youth should be in the forefront in rejecting violence including in times of elections. We have many examples the world over about how violence is neither a solution nor a good means to achieving political power. Compete in the marketplace of ideas and not fists or weapons.


Youth should work with older people and across all institutions and leadership structures to ensure co-existence and the achievement of a peaceful Zambia so that the country lives up to its motto of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’.


As I close, I wish to underscore the continued partnership of the United Nations with the Government and people of Zambia in fostering development in Zambia. We should always aim to do more and remember the words of Dag Hammarskjöld that “…even in the best one, there is always much to improve.”



Speech by
Coumba Mar Gadio
Resident Coordinator
Coumba Mar Gadio, PhD
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations