Press Release - Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Addresses the General Assembly on Eve of Second Term - January 25, 2012
This past week, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the United Nations General Assembly, to mark the commencement of his second term as Secretary General. Ban Ki-Moon’s speech correlated with the publication and distribution of the 2012 Action Agenda, in which the UNDP outlined its plans for the next five years. Ban Ki-Moon laid out five key areas for progress in 2012. These included, 1) sustainable development, 2) preventing conflicts and disasters, 3) building a safer and more secure world, 4) supporting nations in transition, and 5) working for women and young people. In addition to describing these five areas, the Secretary General outlined new up-and-coming challenges that the world currently faces, including overpopulation, economic uncertainty, and environmental catastrophes. He warns, “Our current model of progress is unsustainable.” In order to counter these disasters, and achieve a healthy mode of sustainable development, Ban Ki-Moon proceeded to highlight various issues within the 2012 Action Agenda.
Ban Ki-Moon began by highlighting the necessity to pursue the Millennium Development goals. Countering claims that “development doesn’t work,” the Secretary General called for greater global healthcare programs and tackling the issue of poverty. He also mentioned that the UN was beginning to “look beyond 2015…towards a consensus on a new generation of sustainable development goals that build on the MDGs.” These include greater focus on global environmental protection, so as to ensure the prolonged sustainability of earth’s natural resources.
Following these demands for greater sustainable development, the Secretary General asserted that peacekeeping operations and conflict prevention programs must be strengthened. Prevention, he explained, must especially become a focal point of UN working bodies, as it has been previously proven that prevention works. UN bodies must become swifter and stronger in preventing the evolution of conflict. He added, “The era of impunity is dead. We have entered a new age of accountability.” By strengthening systems of international accountability (namely, the ICC), conflict prevention may become a reality.
From these calls for strengthened peacekeeping operations, Ban Ki-Moon demanded greater regional cooperation and collaboration in order to build “a safer and more secure world.” He especially highlighted the need to strengthen and expand the international humanitarian system, especially in the global south. Other demands included the need to further nuclear disarmament, greater collaboration amongst humanitarian organizations, and regional crime prevention.
Drawing from this demand for regional cooperation and collaboration, the Secretary General pushed forward the need to have greater focus on economic assistance for countries in transition. “We have a responsibility to help countries in transition,” he stated. By aiding countries in transition, Ban Ki-Moon hopes to strengthen their democratic governance systems. In addition, Ban Ki-Moon pushed forward the idea of “transition compacts,” in that conflict-ridden areas would have access to strategic objectives and mutual accountability.
Finally, Ban Ki-Moon asserted his final “cross-cutting” element for the 2012 Action Agenda: empowering women and young people. Underlining the hardships many women face in developing countries, the Secretary General asserted the need to “deepen the UN campaign to end violence against women.” He continued, “We will encourage countries to adopt measures that guarantee women’s equal access to political leadership… that promote women’s engagement in elections… and that build the capacity of women to be effective leaders. And we will develop an action agenda for ensuring the full participation of women in social and economic recovery, so it does not pass them by.” According to Ban Ki-Moon, women will remain a critical element of international development programs, so as to ensure that gender equality may be realized on a global scale.
In regards to “empowering young people,” Ban Ki-Moon began by explaining, “Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known…They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life.” He called for member states to fully address youths’ demands, so as to ensure that their youthful population has access to economic growth and political representation.
The Secretary General concluded by the stating that the “power of partnership” and a “stronger United Nations” would be the means through which the international community could achieve these five goals. International diplomacy, cooperation, and collaboration are the keys to global development, sustainability, and social equity. In sum, Ban Ki-Moon asserted that it is essential that the United Nations revise itself in the next five years, so as to further global development and cooperation.
To read the full text of Ban Ki-Moon’s speech, go here: http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=1437
The 2012 Action Agenda may be found here: http://www.undispatch.com/sgs-action-agenda-security-council-iran-yemen-green-economy-and-more