On 9 September 2021, the General Assembly held an informal commemorative event to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the death of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, the crew and other passengers accompanying him in Ndola.
The event was co-organised by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Tunisia, and hosted by the President of the General Assembly in its 75th session. The event featured opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, and more distinguished guests.
In his opening remarks, Secretary-General Guterres recalled how Hammarskjöld’s ‘wisdom and humanity, his unimpeachable integrity and single-minded devotion to duty set the highest standard for public service.”
Hammarskjöld is remembered as a skilled mediator and diplomat whose advocacy for decolonisation and dedication to international cooperation saw the UN through a period of intense change in an era characterised by great power competition. The historical contributions of his leadership as UN Secretary-General have had lasting impacts and many aspects of that legacy, particularly his defence of the values enshrined in the UN Charter, his dedication to strengthening the international civil service, and his commitment to adaptability and reform, remain relevant today.
Building on Hammarskjöld’s legacy, this event explored means of supporting the international civil service in fulfilling its intended role. The event featured an interactive panel and a Q&A segment, where panelists exchanged on the primary challenges and opportunities facing the international civil service as well as the respective roles of Member States and UN leadership in addressing them.