(Newsroom America) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sounded the alarm about our direction as a "human family" at the 67th General Assembly, warning that in this time of turmoil, transition and transformation, time itself is "not on our side."
"We gather annually in this great hall to look soberly, and without illusion, at the state of our world," he told world leaders gathered in New York.
"This year, I am here to sound the alarm about our direction as a human family. We can all see widespread insecurity and injustice, inequality and intolerance.
"I see Governments wasting vast and precious funds on deadly weapons – while reducing investments in people.
The severe and growing impacts of climate change are there before our eyes – yet too "many people in power seem willfully blind to the threat.
"This is a time of turmoil, transition and transformation – a time when time itself is not on our side," he said.
Mr Ban said people want jobs and the prospect of a decent life but all too often, what they get instead is divisiveness, delay, and denial of their dreams and aspirations.
"We need to look no further than this room to see expressions of the thirst for progress. A large number of you are here for the first time – new leaders, installed by new voices, and expected to make decisive breaks with the past.
"Your people want to see results in real time, now, not the distant future," he said.
Mr Ban said the United Nations rightly faces the same scrutiny, the same impatience, and the same demands for accountability.
"People do not look to this organization to be simply a mirror reflecting back a divided world."
His action agenda highlighted five imperatives, as set out in January this year: sustainable development, prevention, building a more secure world, helping countries in transition and empowering women and youth.
He said he took heart from important steps forward on some of these fronts, with extreme poverty cut in half since the year 2000, democratic transitions are under way in the Arab world and other countries, and Africa’s economic growth has become the fastest in the world.
"Still, we must raise our levels of ambition.
"We need more from each and every one of you. And the world needs more from our United Nations," he said.