Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, UN.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Ured predsjednice/ ua

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic addressed the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, focusing on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015.

She began with what Lovro, a six-year-old boy, wrote in the Book of Ideas in her office: We want a future in which everyone works, is happy and loves one another.

That's a simple but very powerful wish which all world leaders, if they want to change the world, must listen to. Those simple truths, including the right to a happy life and freedom of choice, are universal drivers of a better life and the goal of the 2030 Agenda, Grabar-Kitarovic said, adding that the goal was to empower young people and give them a chance to be catalysts of change and progress.

She concluded her address with a message to children: Your voices are a guide and an obligation for us all.

A lot of work is ahead of us and we must begin by restoring trust in governments and international organisations, embracing our common values with strength, courage and true conviction, and putting tolerance at the forefront of everything, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

Speaking about migrants, she said Croatia cared for people seeking asylum and whose children were already learning Croatian and going to school.

We must not act only when touched by pictures of Syrian boys like Aylan or Omran, true symbols of a world which has taken a horribly wrong direction. We must end the policy of double standards and the hypocritical approach to the tragedy happening right now, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

That wrong direction leads to generations of young people who are disappointed and discouraged, who are fleeing conflicts and violence and are easy prey for all sorts of manipulation, radicalism and terrorism, she added.

She underlined the importance of gender equality, saying that this year Croatia chaired the Equal Futures Partnership, due to meet in New York on Thursday.

Grabar-Kitarovic also spoke of other challenges the world is faced with, such as climate change and nuclear weapons.

She also underlined Croatia's candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council in 2017.

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