In a speech in front of the world’s leaders at the United Nations in New York, Pope Francis has urged them to respect humanity’s “right to the environment”.
The pontiff also called on financial agencies not to subject countries to “oppressive lending systems” that worsen poverty.
In an allusion to the Church’s teachings on s**ual minorities, Pope Francis called for respect for the “natural difference between man and woman”.
Pope Francis went on to visit the 9/11 memorial for a multi-faith service.
He said the universe was “the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator” and that humanity “is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it.”
The Pope also said he hoped a forthcoming summit on climate change in Paris would produce a “fundamental and effective agreement”.
In a wide-ranging speech, Pope Francis addressed topics including girls’ education drug trafficking, and welcomed the deal between Iran and world powers on its nuclear deal, calling it “proof of the potential of political goodwill”.
Earlier, he addressed UN staff after being greeted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, telling them their roles were very important.
“Thank you for all you do… I bless each one of you from my heart. I will pray for you and your families,” the Pope said.
“I ask each of you to remember to pray for me. If anyone is not a believer, I ask you to wish me well.”
Later on Friday Pope Francis will visit a school in the heavily Hispanic neighborhood of East Harlem.
About 80,000 are expected to watch the procession as Pope Francis makes his way to Mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Nearly 20,000 are set to attend the service at the major sporting and concert arena.
Thousands lined Fifth Avenue on September 24 as Pope Francis made his way to St Patrick’s Cathedral for evening prayers.
The Pope arrived in New York from Washington, where he delivered the first-ever papal address to the US Congress.
In the speech, he urged a humane response to refugees, an end to the death penalty and better treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.
Next Pope Francis will go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he will speak in front of Independence Hall and have Mass at a Catholic families’ rally.