"Leave No One Behind," UN Philippines chief says on World Children's Day
21 November 2022
Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez enjoins Filipinos to promise, "Walang iwanan"
Dear children and young people, it has been a pleasure to celebrate World Children’s Day with you!
You all know what the Filipino phrase, “walang iwanan,” means. You say it to your friend, as a promise that you will be there for them no matter what. You say it to get them to pledge their loyalty and commitment to you when you are going through difficult times.
It is not a coincidence that the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, have the same slogan, “walang iwanan,” or in English, ”leave no one behind.” The SDGs are the 17 goals that express our desire for the betterment of everyone, the protection of our planet, and the attainment of peace by the year 2030.
"Walang iwanan" is also the motto of the UN in the Philippines. It is the inspiration that drives the 2000 women and men UN staffmembers, most of them Filipinos, as they work every day to help you, your mothers, fathers, friends and loved ones have happy, secure and fulfilling lives.
“Walang iwanan” is a very powerful message to people to treat one another equally and with respect, no matter our situation in life, no matter our religion, no matter our opinions. How? Because when we treat people who are different from us as if they are less than us, and exclude them from our lives, they are left behind. They miss out on the opportunities that people who have more advantages in life enjoy, and as a result they might stop trying, stop living up to their potential, and stop fulfilling their dreams.
So remember this motto, and live up to it every day of your lives. If you do, one day, you will grow up to find a world that is more equal and more kind. That is the world we all deserve. It is possible and it starts with you.
Magandang hapon at Maligayang Araw Para sa Kabataan! [Happy World Children's Day!]