UN poised to tackle some of today’s most pressing challenges – Ban

7 October 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his confidence that the United Nations can deliver concrete results for the peoples of the world who have increasingly turned to the Organization to address some of today’s most pressing challenges.

“The international community turned to us for assistance, which ranged from helping victims of conflict and disaster and addressing the needs of the poor and hungry to restoring peace between warring parties and mobilizing the global community to address a new generation of global challenges like climate change and terrorism,” Mr. Ban wrote in his second annual report on the work of the Organization.

“The rising demand for our services is daunting, and yet I am convinced that with dedication, focus and commitment we can live up to the hopes of all peoples who look to us to build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world,” he added in the 71-page document, which was the subject of debate by Member States in the General Assembly yesterday.

Mr. Ban acknowledged that during the last year, the world experienced “a huge increase in the intensity of engagement across the entire spectrum of development, security, humanitarian affairs, and human rights issues.”

To fully respond to this surge in demand on the world body’s services, he called for focus in three key areas – delivering results for people most in need, securing global goods, and creating a stronger UN through full accountability.

He also emphasized that strategies to address new challenges will need to be developed globally, but the locus of action and responsibility will be primarily the national level. “I appeal to governments to take action, as the consequences of inaction will spare none.”

On development, the Secretary-General noted that halving extreme poverty, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, is not enough. The international community must also tackle the food crisis, climate change, natural disasters and violent conflicts – all of which threaten to “turn back the clock” on development advances.

Mr. Ban also highlighted the sustained demands placed on the Organization in the area of peace and security, including work in Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, northern Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Western Sahara.

The past year saw the deployment of two of the UN’s most complex peacekeeping operations – in Darfur, and to Chad and CAR. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) now leads 19 missions with more than 130,000 women and men, including troop and police contributions from 117 Member States and a budget of about $7 billion.

In addition, the Secretary-General acknowledged “significant strides” in delivering accountable, predictable and timely assistance to communities impacted by the global food crisis, extreme weather events and armed conflict.

He also pointed to the need for continued reform of the world body to enable the UN to tackle the changing and growing requests placed on it. “To deliver on the increasing demands for our services, we need a stronger, more effective and modern Organization.”

As part of this effort, Mr. Ban has called for the establishment of a new accountability compact with senior managers. “I am committed to ensuring that there is accountability within the Secretariat, flowing both ways between me, to senior managers, and staff.

“I am also taking steps to strengthen the Secretariat’s accountability to Member States for ensuring that the Organization is well managed, upholding individual and collective integrity, and delivering results,” he wrote.


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