“This day – UN Day – fills my heart with pride at seeing so many of you who have come to share our special day with us. As so many of you have faithfully done in years past. And, with you present, I would like to thank you – with all my heart – for your support. More than this, I would like you to know that serving the UN in the Islamic Republic of Iran has – to date – been the richest professional experience of my life.”
These words were shared by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis at the UN Day ceremony which was celebrated in Tehran at Iran’s National Library, yesterday – 7 November.
Among the attendees were Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Seyed Abbas Araghchi, government counterparts, members of the diplomatic corps, Iranian celebrities, the media and members of the UN family in Iran.
Mr. Lewis spoke about the future, present and the past partnership between the UN and Iran. In regard to the future and present he said: “Regarding the present and future, the UN has been tasked – by all its Member States – to assist the Governments of the world – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals […] Here in Iran, in order to support this objective, the UN’s top priority – in the area of development – is to support the Government to successfully implement the National Development Plan.”
Mr. Lewis added: “This partnership extends beyond the realm of development work and also embraces the UN’s humanitarian work in Iran.”
Regarding the past accomplishments, Dr. Araghchi and Mr. Lewis unveiled the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) End-of-Cycle Progress Report which highlights the achievements of the UN together with its partners in Iran between 2012-2016.
Dr. Araghchi then shared his remarks with the audience. He stated: “The UN gives us the sense that we are not just states seeking our selfish goals with no consideration for others’ opinions, needs and sufferings. It gives us hope that we can and should try to make a better world through peaceful means, through understanding and dialogue.”
Dr. Araghchi added: “One recent and very bold example of such endeavor is, the collective efforts by seven nations of the world as well as the European Union, to arrive to a mutual understanding in order to resolve a complicated issue and unnecessary crisis produced mainly out of unwarranted suspicion, an agreement we call the JCPOA.”
Dr. Araghchi then congratulated the attendees on UN Day and said: “Iran counts on it partners in the UN system for their support in materializing higher development.”
The Deputy Foreign Minister then praised the UN Resident Coordinator for his efforts in Iran and said: “And finally, allow me to commend my dear friend the distinguished UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Mr. Gary Lewis, for his utter dedication and hard work, for his devotion to Iran and for his achievements during his tenure of office. You, sir, leave a remarkable trace of your presence when you finally depart Iran. You fought hard alongside your Iranian partners in many fronts, whether it was saving the Asiatic Cheetah, reviving Lake Urmia, combating diseases or taking care of sand and dust storms in Ahvaz. We have seen Gary in all those places. We shall be grateful to you and your able team and will remember you as a great friend of Iran.
Yesterday’s celebration marked Mr. Lewis’ fifth, and last, United Nations Day in Iran, but not his last day in Iran.
Before the conclusion of the ceremony, appreciation letters were given to four Iranians who had been winners of UN photographic competitions.
The attendees then had a chance to visit the UN exhibition where staff spoke of the work of different UN agencies, funds and programmes in Iran.