General Assembly appoints Ban as UN chief for 2nd term

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva in this May 11, 2011 file photo. The 192-nation UN General Assembly on June 21, 2011, unanimously approved a second five-year term for Ban beginning Jane 1, 2012. The former South Korean foreign minister, who took over from his predecessor Kofi Annan in January 2007, was re-elected to the world body’s top job by acclamation. [Photo/Agencies]

UNITED NATIONS – The UN General Assembly on Tuesday appointed Ban Ki-moon as the UN secretary-general for a second five-year term starting January 1, 2012.

The 192-member General Assembly made the appointment after adopting a resolution by acclamation at a plenary session here on the basis of a decision of the UN Security Council to recommend Ban to the top UN post for a second term. The 15-nation Security Council made the recommendation on June 17.

Under the UN Charter, the secretary-general is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

In introducing a draft resolution to the General Assembly, Noel Nelson Messone, Gabon’s ambassador to the UN, whose country holds the council’s rotating presidency for the month of June, spoke highly of Ban’s role in promoting peace and development in Africa and other parts of the world.

“Your re-appointment today is a sign of the esteem that all those States have for you and of their confidence in you,” Joseph Deiss, the president of the 65th General Assembly session, said at the plenary meeting to thank Ban for what he has done in his first term on behalf of all UN member states.

Ban has been praised for his efforts in climate change, the empowerment of women, UN peacekeeping operations, disarmament and sustainable development.

Two weeks ago, Ban, a South Korean national, put himself forward for re-election as the secretary-general.

Each of the regional groups in the United Nations has sent a letter to the General Assembly to endorse the candidacy, Deiss said, adding that these regional groups cover all the UN member states.

Ban’s current term expires on December 31, and he has no declared rival for the post. The 67-year-old former South Korean foreign minister succeeded Kofi Annan in January 2007.  

“Since your assumption of office, you have been active in many areas,” Deiss said. “In a complex, difficult international environment, you have strengthened the role and the visibility of the United Nations by adopting reform measures; launching exciting, innovative initiatives; and calling faithfully and constantly for respect for human rights, the rule of law and other values rooted in our Charter.”

Equal parts diplomats and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the secretary-general is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesman for the interests of the world’s peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable.

The Charter describes the secretary-general as “chief administrative officer” of the world body, who shall act in the capacity and perform “such other functions as are entrusted” to him or her by the major UN agencies — the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other UN organs.

The Charter also empowers the secretary-general to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

One of the most vital role played by the secretary-general is the use of his “good offices” — steps taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The good offices of the secretary-general have used in the wide range of situation, including Cyprus, East Timor, Iraq, Libya, the Middle East, Nigeria and West Sahara.

Each secretary-general defines his role within the context of his particular time in office.

Demands for UN peacekeeping have grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years, leading Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to propose basic structural reforms to enable the Organization to keep peace.

“The task is not easy, as you know, but I assure you of the full support of the General Assembly and its member states,” Deiss said. “This second term of office will allow you to work even harder to promote the fundamental values of the Charter.”


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