David Beckham has given an emotional speech at the United Nations, urging world leaders to do more to protect vulnerable children around the world. The former England football captain gave the address in his role as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef.

“As a Unicef ambassador, and as a father, it breaks my heart to see children continue to suffer,” the 40 year old said on Thursday (September 24th) at the UN General Assembly in New York. The organisation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was alongside him during the speech.

David BeckhamDavid Beckham delivered a moving speech at the United Nations in New York

Approximately 170 heads of state from governments around the world are meeting in New York next week, and among the topics of discussion will be the approval of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which would replace the six goals set for millennium development.

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To illustrate his speech, Beckham gave an example of a family he spoke in the aftermath of the Philippines typhoon Haiyan in 2013. “I met a family in the Philippines - a mother and a father, with two young girls, Venus and Viana - who wanted to tell their story.”

“The family were on their roof and the mother tired, scared, exhausted, asked the father to take both girls. A day and a half later Viana was found face down, and she had died. This was one of the most devastating stories I had heard.”

“But then I saw the great work Unicef was doing rebuilding houses, rebuilding families, and rebuilding schools. Rebuilding schools gave Venus and the other children in the village a bit of normality. That story will never leave me," he continued, noticeably pausing to regain his composure.

Beckham’s involvement with Unicef stretches back over a decade, and has launched his own charitable initiative ‘7: The David Beckham Unicef Fund’. He finished his speech by asking: “I want a world where children can grow up safe from war, violence, poverty and preventable disease - don't you?”

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