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Round Two For Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon?

Just a few days ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially requested his consideration for a second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations by the UN Security Council and was decided by the UN General Assembly as a candidate.

Ban Ki-moon started his position on January 1, 2007, after having a variety of different government roles and international roles as a Republic of Korea national.  Ki-moon began working at the United Nations in 1975, as a member of the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division, followed by many different roles over the years within the organization, before attaining the top position.

Today as Secretary-General to the UN, Ban Ki-moon’s role is to represent the United Nations at a global level and to serve as the “chief administrative officer”. He serves as a global representative, focusing specifically on those in need and the missions to assist through the services of the United Nations. The role of Secretary-General of the United Nations is the top position of the United Nations that focuses on administration of the services, hiring of employees, and overseeing peacekeeping missions and mediation whenever there is conflict. Currently there is no limit to how many terms a Secretary-General can have – however, no Secretary-General has served for more than two terms so far, so his bid is well-placed and was to be expected.

Many are in support of his re-election, including European Commission President Barroso, the US, Britain, China, KoreaFrance, and Nigeria, just to name a few.  In fact, with the support of Russia, he has the support of the five permanent and veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council (US, Great Britain, Russia, China and France). His term so far has been full of determination- he has led with drastic and successful efforts in educating nations about issues of climate control and change specifically in developing countries. These efforts have been shown through the UN Climate Change Conferences, with the most recent one in Cancun in 2010. This conference worked towards gaining support from nations around climate control and also created the ‘Green Bank’ to fund the discussed possible changes at the Copenhagen conference the year before that had resulted in the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. Of particular note was his success at gaining the support of the US and China in the climate talks, where they weren’t as active before.  Ban also said this week that he was proud that the UN under his guidance had saved many lives and had sown “the seeds of peace” in conflicts ranging from Sudan and Somalia to Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.

Considering his success so far, he has also been criticized for not being direct in what he looks to get done and is known to stay within his comfort zone or “inner circle” of employees within the United Nations Headquarters.  It has been suggested that his intentions are good as a leader, but his strategies may need to change in order to have outcome.  Looking ahead to the future and likelihood of his second-term bid, there are questions about his laid-back leadership personality and positive outlook on achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. The UN is concerned about the suffering global economy’s effects on the potential for each goal to be met. Also, with the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS disease just honored, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes another future goal to end AIDS by 2020, a goal that is said to be realistic but will require a lot of effort.

For now, the question remains could Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon be caught singing “Ban Ki-moon is Coming to Town” in front of UN correspondents, for a second time?  Time will tell.  We look forward in anticipation as the inspirational global leader with a pinch of humor hopes for a second term.

-Cara

Libyan Conflict Reaches the UN

If you have been up to date with the news in Libya, you are probably aware that the situation in Libya is escalating. Libya has now become the center of attention for not only the media but also the U.N.

Libya’s bloody crackdown on protesters and its innocent civilians is alarming. It is reported that thousands may have been killed or injured.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced at a press conference on Wednesday, February 23rd that the current situation in Libya is unpredictable and it is possible that the situation could go in many directions, many of them, which are dangerous. He also stated that the international community should remain unity and act together. While the young people are pushing the frontier of freedom, it is important to note that there should be no violence and instead respect for human rights. He emphasized that the government of Libya should protect its people as attack on civilians are violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and those responsible must be held accountable.

Ironically, Libya is an elected member of the Human Rights Council and now some members have called for its expulsion.

On Friday, February 25th, the UN Human Rights Council met in a special session in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss possible sanctions against Moamer Kadhafi’s embattled government while the UN Security Council met Saturday 26th, in New York for a formal session to discuss the crisis in Libya and Moamer Kadhafi’s refusal to halt his crackdown on democracy protests.  See below for a brief overview of those sessions:

U.N. Human Rights council in Geneva (Friday, 02/25/2011)

Along with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, as well as counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, the European Union and Italy, the Human Rights Council, the UN’s top rights assembly, decided unanimously on Friday to approve Libya’s exclusion from the body.

It also launched an UN-led investigation into “systematic violence” in Libya that could amount to “crimes against humanity,” after 1,000 people were reportedly killed in attempts to crush an uprising against Kadhafi.

Security Council Meeting in New York (Saturday, 02/26/2011)

The U.N. Security Council unanimously decided to impose economic and military sanctions on Libya and urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to pursue charges of war crimes against Kadhafi, members of his family, and 16 of his political and military advisers.

At the meeting, U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced that the U.N. receives daily reports of clashes and the “indiscriminate use of violence” resulting in an estimated 1,000 deaths and countless arrests and wounded in Libya. In addition, reports of Kadhafi’s supporting forces killing wounded opposition members in hospitals where they were being treated for wounds, have also reached the U.N.

The results of the meetings were praised by human rights groups, but they also urged the international community to ensure protection of civilians in Libya and justice for victims of violence over the coming months.

How do you think the unrest in Libya should be handled? Is the international community doing enough?  How can peace be achieved?  Let us know what you think and keep posted with UNA-GB on the current situations in Libya.

-NaEun