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On UN Day, Ban underlines need for unity to confront global challenges

Article / Review by on October 24, 2011 – 11:54 pmNo Comments

On UN Day, Ban underlines need for unity to confront global challenges

24 October 2011  

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need for unity as the world seeks solutions for the key challenges facing humanity, from the economic crisis and diminishing job opportunities to the consequences of climate change.
UN Day celebrations in Timor-Leste

“Global problems demand global solutions,” Mr. Ban said in a message for United Nations Day, marking the anniversary of the day the Organization was founded 66 years ago. “They compel all nations to unite in action on an agenda for the world’s people. That is the very mission of the United Nations.”

He noted that this year has been particularly dramatic with people everywhere standing up to demand their rights, even as fear continue to grip many who believe that their governments and the global economy can no longer deliver for them.

“In these turbulent times, there is only one answer – unity of purpose,” said the Secretary-General, emphasizing that the UN was needed more than ever to build a better world, and to support poorest and most vulnerable to enhance global peace and social justice.

“In our increasingly interconnected world, we all have something to give and something to gain by working together. Let us unite, seven billion strong, in the name of the global common good,” he added.

Addressing students at New Explorations into Science, Mathematics and Technology School (NEST) in New York, Mr. Ban spoke of the need to find solutions to the problems that bedevil communities, especially in poorer regions of the world.

“The one billion people who go to bed hungry. Those who die of hunger… of disease – often because they lack something as basic and simple as clean water. Many of them do not even live to be five years old. At the UN, these are the people we are working for every day.”

He reiterated that in one week, the world’s population will hit the seven-billion mark and challenged the youngsters to get involved and support the UN in its endeavours to make the world a better place.

“Despite all of our challenges, I have hope. Because there is one resource that can overcome all of these problems. I am not talking about a super variety of rice to feed the planet… or a magic cure to all diseases… or a great business idea to end global poverty.

“I am talking about the living resource that fills this room: You. You who know that children do not need to die from hunger… that mothers do not need to die from childbirth… that families do not need to suffer. Because we know how to help them. The UN is 4 U – and you can be 4 the UN. Let us make this not just a world of seven billion. Let us make this a world of seven billion strong.”

UN Day was marked with various activities in UN offices and missions around the world, including in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur, where entertainer Omer Ihsas launched a new song dedicated to peace and the UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) held military and police parades.

The Day was also an occasion to pay tribute those who have lost their lives in the service of the Organization. UNAMID units in El Fasher, Nyala, El Geneina and Zalingei marked the day with various activities.

“On this UN day, we salute not only the UN as an institution, but also the people who are at its heart,” said Ibrahim Gambari, the UNAMID Joint Special Representative, addressing a gathering at El Fasher stadium.

In Iraq, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Martin Kobler told a gathering in Baghdad that the world body had successfully implemented a range of political, development, humanitarian and emergency initiatives in the country.

“Most importantly, we have been doing this while promoting key cross-cutting issues – in particular human rights protection, gender, and the environment,” he said.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) marked the Day with the presentation of certificates of recognition to eight Lebanese staff members who have completed 30 years of service with the mission by the mission’s Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas.

At their headquarters in Naqoura, UNIFIL peacekeepers representing 36 different national contingents also held a ceremonial parade attended by senior officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Lebanese officials and representatives of various international organizations, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and UN agencies, among others.

“On this day, let us all pledge to stand firmly united by the ideals that led to the creation of the United Nations 66 years ago and which today, in our changing world, remain an anchor of hope to achieve lasting peace, security and development for all mankind,” said Maj.-Gen. Asarta.

In Thailand, where UN Day coincided with the 62nd anniversary of the Organization’s presence in the country, UN and Thai Government officials came together to mark the Day.

“Bangkok has transformed in many ways – not only in its growth as the capital of our dear nation, but also as a geographic, commercial and political hub,” said Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

“In the same way, Bangkok has risen in stature and importance for both ESCAP [UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific] and the entire UN family of agencies and entities, which now total almost 30, making it now also a United Nations hub for Asia and the Pacific.”

Noeleen Heyzer, the head of ESCAP thanked Thailand for hosting the UN. “You have given Asia-Pacific a regional United Nations presence to build our collective strengths, to share regional solutions, to implement the founding ideals of the United Nations, to build a more inclusive, sustainable and just future for our people,” she said.

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24 October 2011  

On the 66th annual UN Day, Monday 24th October, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Nest+m High School in New York City’s Lower East Side. The SG gave a speech, and chatted with high schoolers and teachers about how the globe’s newest generation can make a difference to the world.

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New York, 24 October 2011  

Secretary-General’s message for UN Day

“Days from now, the human family will welcome its seven billionth member.

Some say our planet is too crowded. I say we are seven billion strong. 

The world has made remarkable progress since the United Nations was born 66 years ago today. 

We are living longer. More of our children survive. More and more of us live at peace, under democratic rule of law. 

As we have seen in this dramatic year, people everywhere are standing up for their rights and human freedoms. 

And yet, all this progress is under threat. From economic crisis. Rising joblessness and inequality. Climate change. 

Around the world, too many people live in fear. Too many people believe their governments and the global economy can no longer deliver for them. 

In these turbulent times, there is only one answer: unity of purpose. 

Global problems demand global solutions. 

They compel all nations to unite in action on an agenda for the world’s people. 

That is the very mission of the United Nations:

To build a better world.

To leave no one behind.

To stand for the poorest and most vulnerable in the name of global peace and social justice.

On this special day, let us recognize:

Never has the United Nations been so needed.

In our increasingly interconnected world, we all have something to give and something to gain by working together.

Let us unite, seven billion strong, in the name of the global common good.”

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Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2011  

Secretary-General’s message to ITU Telecom World 2011 Broadband Leadership Summit

Excellencies, Dr. Toure, Distinguised Delegates, 

When I attended your meeting two years ago with my Chief Information Technology Officer, it was clear to me that information and communication technologies were transforming our world. 

Today, there is no part of modern life that is not affected by ICTs. 

With well over five billion mobile cellular subscriptions, and more than two billion people online, our challenge is to leverage the enormous power of technology to make the world a better place. 

This is why I support the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, set up by ITU and UNESCO to encourage governments, the private-sector and other organizations to bring affordable, equitable broadband access to all the world’s people.

I also commend ITU for bringing together leading industry leaders, government officials, digital innovators and technological experts for this week’s Broadband Leadership Summit and ITU Telecom World. 

By working together to apply technology to real-world issues, you will enable ICTs to a catalyst for social, economic and sustainable development. 

You will help us accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. 

And you can have an especially important impact on health and education, especially in the developing world, where resources are scarce and thinly spread. 

ICTs are one of the most striking examples of the positive effects of globalization. 

They are directly helping the United Nations achieve its global mission. 

As we look ahead, we also need you to do your part to ensure the success of next year’s crucially important UN Conference on Sustainable Development. 

Rio +20 is your chance to show how ICTs can help us build the equitable, green and growing economy the world so urgently needs. 

I wish you well this week in Geneva. Thank you again for your engagement and support.

###

New York, 24 October 2011

Secretary-General Remarks to Nuclear Disarmament Conference

Mr. Francis Finlay Co-Chairman of the EastWest Institute,

Mr. John Mroz, President and CEO of the EastWest Institute,

Mr. Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute,

” Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure to meet you again. As you know today is October 24th, United Nations Day. We met three years ago. This is my third time. This is quite meaningful reunion and I thank you very much. Let me begin by saying what a great pleasure to meet you all.

This is again the third time I’ve spoken at a conference organized by the EastWest Institute. At the first, in 2008, I launched a five-point proposal for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. And, thank you very much for your strong summit commitment and support and raising the awareness and raising the support at the international community.

Then, as now, I believed we are at a crucial moment.

I believed the time was right to inject new momentum into the disarmament agenda; to build on the energy and ideas of so many around the world who have challenged us to act ? and to act now.

Today, I want to thank the EastWest Institute, the Global Security Institute, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. We have today a fine opportunity to take stock and look forward.

Now, we all know that the experts have been talking for decades about banning nuclear weapons.

And yet, here we are. Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remain. New ones are being designed and built everyday. And to what purpose?

Even those who believe in this noble cause too often speak of nuclear disarmament as a distant dream ? even a pie-in-the-sky idea.

As Secretary-General, I want to bring disarmament down to earth, not a pie-in-the-sky idea.

Instead of hearing the word “disarmament” floating in the air, I want to see disarmament facts on the ground.

This is what inspired my five-point proposal for action.

First, I called for leadership by the nuclear-weapon States, including good-faith negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. I also called for talks on deep and verifiable reductions in the largest nuclear arsenals held by the Russian Federation and the United States.

Second, I encouraged nuclear-weapon States to pledge that such weapons would never be used against non-nuclear States. I also urged the Security Council to hold a summit meeting on nuclear disarmament.

Third, I called for new efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force and to begin negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material treaty. Disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations.

Fourth, I called on all nuclear-weapon States to report their disarmament efforts to the UN Secretariat. Without real transparency, there can be no real accountability.

Fifth, I stressed the need to work toward the elimination of other weapons of mass destruction, and to develop new controls over missiles, space weapons, and conventional arms.

Three years on, we have seen some concrete progress.

In September 2009, the Security Council held its first-ever summit meeting on disarmament and non-proliferation.

Last year, the Russian Federation and the United States signed the New Start treaty.

Meanwhile, support for a nuclear weapons convention continues to grow.

In 2010, the annual General Assembly resolution for negotiating such a convention gained the votes of 133 Member States ? the most ever. And last year’s 2010 NPT Review Conference adopted a Final Document that acknowledged support for the nuclear weapons convention. We have gathered millions of signatures for this cause.

We have begun to lay the groundwork for a Conference on establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. As you are already aware, I have already appointed the facilitator and host government of Finland.

Finally, we have seen global action to improve nuclear safety and security.

Last month, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, I convened a High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security at the General Assembly. I hope it can serve as a stepping stone to other efforts, including the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, I am going to outline my thoughts for how to advance this progress.

Most immediately, the world is expecting a deeper reduction in the largest nuclear arsenals. This should include limits on both non-strategic nuclear weapons and non-deployed weapons. And by weapon reduction, I mean weapon destruction.

There is an indispensable role here for international verification, especially over the disposition of fissile materials from dismantled weapons.

We need a significant improvement in transparency. Too little is known about existing stockpiles of weapons, fissile materials, and delivery systems. The UN’s disarmament repository offers a useful tool for States in encouraging greater transparency.

Next year’s first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference offers an opportunity to strengthen accountability in fulfilling the disarmament commitments made at the 2010 Review Conference.

We must also strengthen the rule of law in disarmament.

This would include elaboration of the legal obligations needed to achieve nuclear disarmament, including the contents of a future nuclear weapons convention.

I would also add the possibility of another Security Council summit meeting; and ratification of the Protocols to all the regional nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, especially in Central Asia and Southeast Asia, along with determined efforts to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty should be brought into force without further delay.

And, of course, we cannot advance rule of law issues without the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s only multilateral negotiating body for disarmament. For too long, this vital body has been paralyzed by differing priorities. It is stumbling into irrelevance. This does credit to no one. It must fulfill its responsibility to act.

As we look ahead, we must keep our eyes fixed on our universally agreed “ultimate goal” of general and complete disarmament.

All of what I have proposed is achievable and none would impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence as affirmed in the Charter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a full agenda – and we cannot achieve it alone.

The future of nuclear disarmament rests on many shoulders: nuclear-weapon States, the international diplomatic community, and, of course, a robust collective effort by civil society.

What impresses me most is not the sheer number of disarmament groups that are making a difference, but their diversity.

Over the past three years, our bonds have grown even stronger.

I have seen the passion of the arguments and the power of the stories — from the former Soviet nuclear testing ground in Semipalatinsk to Hiroshima and Nagasaki where I heard first-hand from the hibakusha survivors. In Mexico City, I attended one of the largest gatherings of disarmament NGOs ever.

And these groups are expanding their networks and their use of social media, as seen in the efforts of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Global Zero and many others.

We can and we must continue this momentum for progress.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Exactly one week from today, the world will welcome the 7 billionth member of our human family.

We are 7 days from 7 billion.

What kind of future will that child have?

We know that world of tomorrow is shaped by the decisions we make today.

A world free of nuclear weapons is a concrete possibility.

Let us realize that dream so that 7 billion people can live in peace and security.

Thank you very much for your commitment.”

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New York, 24 October 2011

Secretary-General’s remarks at UN4U Event at New Explorations into Science, Mathematics and Technology School [as prepared for delivery]

“Good morning, everyone. 

Thank you, Karen [Tong, Secretary of the Student Government]. 

Thank you, everyone, for welcoming me to NEST. 

What a pleasure to see all the tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders here. 

Let me also say hello to the ninth graders watching in your classrooms. I wish I could see you in person. Thank you for joining us. 

I heard the last time you were all here was for Movie Night. I hope I am not quite as scary as “Night of the Living Dead.”

I understand you also just saw some films about the UN’s work. 

I was in a few scenes giving speeches. But I want you to know: long ago, I could have been one of the poor people receiving the UN’s help. 

You see, I grew up in Korea, just after a long war. All the cities were destroyed. Everyone was poor. 

One of my earliest memories is walking up a muddy road into the mountains. 

It was raining. 

Behind me, my village was burning. 

When there was school, it was under a tree. 

Then the United Nations came. They fed me, my family, my community. 

The UN helped rebuild my country. 

That’s why today is so special. This is United Nations Day. Like that banner says, “The UN is 4U.” 

Today, we also begin a countdown. In one week, the human family will welcome our seven billionth baby. 

We are 7 days to 7 billion. 

I love the beautiful signs you all made. “I am One of Seven Billion”. That is your badge of solidarity with all people on this planet Earth. 

Because this is not a story about numbers. This is a story about people. 

Seven billion people who need enough food. Enough energy. Good opportunities in life for jobs and education. Rights and freedoms. The freedom to speak. The freedom to raise their own children in peace and security. Everything you want for yourself – seven billion times over. 

I want you to think about so many around the world who don’t have that. 

The 1 billion people who go to bed hungry. Those who die of hunger, of disease – often because they lack something as basic and simple as clean water. Many of them do not even live to be five years old. 

At the UN, these are the people we are working for every day 

In Sudan. In Somalia. In Haiti. Wherever there is suffering. 

Despite all of our challenges, I have hope. 

Because there is one resource that can overcome all of these problems. 

I am not talking about a super variety of rice to feed the planet, or a magic cure to all diseases, or a great business idea to end global poverty. 

I am talking about the living resource that fills this room:

You.

You who know that children do not need to die from hunger, that mothers do not need to die from childbirth, that families do not need to suffer. 

Because we know how to help them. 

The UN is 4 U – and you can be 4 the UN. 

Let us make this not just a world of seven billion. Let us make this a world of seven billion strong. 

Being here in a high school, I remember what one of my favourite teachers said to me. He told me, “Always keep your head above the clouds but keep your feet firmly on the ground.” 

That means to be bold. Think big. Embrace a vision larger than yourself. 

That is how to live a life of greater meaning and larger purpose. 

Here at NEST, you have a wonderful opportunity. A wonderful school. Wonderful teachers. A wonderful sense of community. 

But my favourite thing about NEST is your basketball team cheer: “Eagles, SOAR!” 

I want all of you to soar into a great future. I want all of you to lift your wings and fly high into the deep blue sky; a UN blue sky. 

This is your world. Your United Nations. I came here to hear from you. 

Please, ask me your questions. I will do my best to answer. 

Thank you.”

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New York, 24 October 2011

Secretary-General”s remarks at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Dinner 

Mr. Jim Clifton, Chairman of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Mr. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Pastor Shirley Caesar,

Distinguished Ambassadors, Ladies and gentlemen, 

Thank you for your warm welcome. 

Congratulations to tonight’s honourees. What a privilege for me to be among them. 

Today we celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the UN and its contribution to world peace, security, development and human rights. 

With both pride and humility, on this UN Day, I accept this “humanitarian of the year” award in the name of the United Nations and its staff. 

Each day, every day, they work to save lives and help people rise from poverty, to rebuild from conflict, to recover from natural disaster. 

Yet let me also say: being a humanitarian, in its fullest sense, goes beyond this mission alone. 

If you are a true humanitarian, you look at the world in a certain way ? you see yourself as part of something larger than yourself. You try to make a difference in the lives of others; even, perhaps, to change the world. 

Thurgood Marshall was a true humanitarian. 

We all know the legend of this great man: how he transformed the law ? and the country ? with his pioneering work on the Supreme Court. How he fought for human rights and social equity. How he contributed so much to Howard University and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

As a champion of equal rights at home, he also spoke to the deepest yearnings of all the world’s people. 

As a champion of the rule of law ? the same laws, for all people ? he helped shape the international judicial landscape. He spoke for values and norms of behaviour that resonate today in every corner of the globe. 

In other words, he embodied the values that we at the United Nations hold most dear. 

He was a kindred spirit. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Marshall and the United Nations crossed paths many times. 

In 1954, he sat next to our own champion of racial equality, Ralph Bunche, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, when the NAACP celebrated the Supreme Court decision declaring racially segregated education to be unconstitutional. 

In 1965, at the request of President Lyndon Johnson, Marshall led the U.S. delegation at a UN conference on crime. 

And when the United Nations supported independence movements across Africa and rallied against apartheid in South Africa, we were standing alongside men and women who drew inspiration from Marshall himself. 

Kenya turned to Marshall for help in drafting the country’s new constitution and bill of rights. A scholar later noted that “many passages were identical to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” one of the UN’s founding documents. 

Most recently, the soundtrack for the Arab Spring included “We Shall Overcome.” 

Marshall was widely known as “Mr. Civil Rights.” Today, his brand of non-violent action, a hallmark of the American civil rights movement, has made a big comeback across the geopolitical map. 

His fame was global ? even to me as a young boy in faraway Korea. 

Marshall himself came to Korea in 1951. His investigation of the treatment of African-American G.I.’s there helped advance efforts to integrate the U.S. Army. 

Perhaps some of your parents or grandparents served there in Korea, to defend the freedom and security of my homeland, the Republic of Korea. I thank you for your support. 

Perhaps they told you that the fighting had taken a terrible turn – until units of extremely disciplined and courageous African-American soldiers helped turn the tide. 

We Koreans are well aware of what many thousands of African-Americans did to help liberate our country. Many paid with their lives. 

As African-American soldiers liberated Korea, they gained more freedom for themselves. 

In that war, blacks and whites fought together in common cause. And that, in turn, shaped the similar struggle back home.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Today, the United Nations fights prejudice and discrimination everywhere. 

In all our work, wherever it might be, we champion the rights of men, women and children to live in peace, dignity and justice ? equality of opportunity, the same laws for all. 

In a few days, at the end of this month, we will welcome the world’s 7 billionth child into our human family. 

As we see it, every man, woman and child has the right to grow up in peace, with enough to eat, with the health care, education and freedoms they need to realize their full potential. 

The anger we see on our streets today ? on Main Street as well as Wall Street ? grows from a loss of hope ? a lack of faith in governments to do the right thing for their people. 

Thurgood Marshall would know this. He would know what to do ? how to show leadership. 

He would be proud of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. And I am confident that he would be proud of the United Nations as well. 

I look forward to working with you to deepen his great legacy ? and your great work. 

Thank you.

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Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.“I grew up in war”, the Secretary-General has said, “and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild.  That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service.  As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights.”Mr. Ban took office on 1 January 2007. Highlights of his tenure have included:

Promoting sustainable development
One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda.  Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.  At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

Empowering women
The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area.  His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the “Unite to End Violence against Women” campaign, the “Stop Rape Now” initiative, the creation of a “Network of Men Leaders” and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

Supporting countries facing crisis or instability
The Secretary-General has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations “blue helmets” operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises.  Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the “responsibility to protect,” the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes.  He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.

Generating new momentum on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation
The Secretary-General has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Strengthening the UN
The Secretary-Generalhas introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient.  These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

Personal
The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944.  He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea’s 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly.  Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.  Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

 

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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