The United Nations General Assembly today agreed to appoint Ban Ki-moon to a second consecutive term as the Secretary-General of the 192-member Organization.
Under the resolution, which was adopted by acclamation, Mr. Ban’s second term will run from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016.
Today’s decision follows a recommendation last week by members of the Security Council that Mr. Ban – the eighth person to serve as UN chief – be re-appointed. He has been in office since January 2007.
Following the re-appointment, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss praised Mr. Ban for “his remarkable leadership” of the world body.
“In a complex, difficult international environment, you have strengthened the role and the visibility of the United Nations by adopting reform measures; launching exciting, innovative initiatives; and calling faithfully and constantly for respect for human rights, the rule of law and the other values rooted in our Charter,” Mr. Deiss told the Assembly.
Mr. Ban took the oath of office, placing his hand on the original UN Charter and promising to discharge his functions in the interests of the entire UN and to not seek or accept instructions from any government.
He told the Assembly that he was “proud and humbled to accept” the appointment of a second term as UN chief.
“As Secretary-General, I will work as a harmonizer and bridge-builder – among Member States, within the United Nations system, and between the United Nations and a rich diversity of international partners,” Mr. Ban said.
He stressed that no challenge is too large. “Together, nothing is impossible,” he said, noting that the world’s peoples are looking more and more to the UN to lead on key issues.
“We knew then – and more so now – that we live in an era of integration and inter-connection, a new era when no country can solve all challenges on its own and where every country should be part of the solution. That is the reality of the modern world. We can struggle with it, or we can lead.”
Mr. Ban said the UN had “laid a firm foundation for the future” on a number of issues since he assumed office, including climate change, nuclear disarmament, education, sustainable development and global health.
“We are on track to eliminate deaths from malaria. With a final push, we can eradicate polio, just as we did smallpox long ago. We have shielded the poor and vulnerable against the greatest economic upheaval in generations.”
The Secretary-General also cited the UN’s peacekeeping efforts in conflicts and crises around the world, the creation of the agency known as UN Women, and the UN’s response to major humanitarian disasters in Haiti, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Looking ahead, he noted that the current economic times in the wake of the global financial crisis meant the world, and the UN as an institution, have to do more with less.
“We must do more to connect the dots among the world’s challenges, so that solutions to one global problem become solutions for all – on women’s and children’s health, green growth, more equitable social and economic development.
“A clear time frame lies ahead: the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, next year’s Rio+20 conference, the high-level meeting on nuclear safety in September and the nuclear security summit in Seoul next year.”
Speaking later to journalists, Mr. Ban emphasized what he described as “the power of partnership. By working together, we have advanced on the many global challenges of our times.
“A broad constellation of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), business leaders and others have been a big part of this picture,” he said, adding he wanted to thank UN staff for their dedication and hard work.