Like all jobs, the role of Secretary-General of the U.N. comes with its own challenges and rewards, especially when you’re following in the footsteps of someone like Kofi Annon. Ban Ki-moon has served in this position since January 2007.
Ban Ki-moon’s agenda has been all encompassing — promoting sustainable development, empowering women, supporting countries facing crisis and instability, dealing with arms control and non-proliferation, all while strengthening the U.N.
“Be a global citizen. Act with passion and compassion,” said Ban Ki-moon at Our World, Our Dignity, Our Planet: the Post-2015 Agenda and the Role of Youth. “Help us make this world safer and more sustainable today and for the generations that will follow us. That is our moral responsibility.”
In his first year as secretary-general, he called attention to the genocide in Darfur and made it a top priority. Under Ban Ki-moon’s leadership, a hybrid force, part African-Union and part U.N., was established for peacekeeping, according to the BBC.
“He worked doggedly on agreements between the government of Sudan and the African Union that led to a UN Security Council resolution last summer authorizing a hybrid UN force made up largely of African Union soldiers,” said Howard LaFranchi in a March 2008 Christian Science Monitor article.
Not only has Ban Ki-moon worked to address humanitarian issues like global poverty through the use of the Millennium Development Goals but he has also made it his mission to tackle climate change through the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
“The Goals are universal; they apply to all countries, since we know that even the wealthiest have yet to conquer poverty or achieve full gender equality,” said Ban Ki-moon in an op-ed for the Huffington Post in 2015.
According to his U.N. priorities, he also sought to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation along with increasing monies for the Green Climate Fund and putting them to good use.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel applauded Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to address climate change, global humanitarian issues and the refugee crisis. “With sound preparations, and when the many partners involved pull together, the international community can accept shared responsibility,” said Merkel at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. “To a very great extent we have you to thank for this achievement. And I would like to thank you most warmly.”
Although Ban Ki-moon’s term as secretary-general concludes at the end of this year, he can leave knowing he had a positive impact on the global community.
— Summer Jackson