Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, has received one of the Spanish Government’s highest honours for his diplomatic and humanitarian work.
In a ceremony held yesterday in New York, Mr. Eliasson received the Order of Queen Isabel the Catholic from Ambassador Juan Antonio Yánez-Barnuevo of Spain.
Also present at the event were General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, and high-level staff from the European Union and the UN.
Expressing his gratitude to Spanish King Juan Carlos and the Government, Mr. Eliasson stressed that the award is a recognition of the collaborative work of UN Member States, not only an acknowledgment of his personal efforts.
Spain highlighted the Envoy’s mediation efforts and his successes – including the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), pledges by world leaders to eradicate social ills by 2015, and reaching agreement on a UN counter-terrorism strategy – during his tenure as President of the 60th session of the General Assembly.
Mr. Eliasson was also the UN’s first-ever Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
As a Swedish diplomat, he served as his country’s Ambassador to the United States, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the UN.
Currently, with his African Union (AU) counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim, Mr. Eliasson is urging parties to the conflict in Darfur – where at least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 – to come to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis.
The Order of Queen Isabel the Catholic, which dates back to 1815, is bestowed to Spanish citizens or foreigners for their work benefiting Spain or its relations with the international community.