Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, to the Security Council,
Mr. President, dear Foreign Minister Rassoul, and dear colleagues,Thank you first of all Mr. Minister Rassoul for being with us today. It is sending a strong signal to remind us, as you did, that this is the moment when a country like Afghanistan is going through a terrible loss. Your presence here reminds us of the departure of Professor Rabbani and we need to hear from you how Afghanistan once again will be confronting this difficult moment.
We meet in fact today at a sad moment for the people of Afghanistan. The recent killing of former President and Head of the High Peace Council, Professor Rabbani, who was a friend of many of us, highly respected by all of us, was a shock for all of us. But as Afghanistan and the Afghans have shown so many times over thousands of years, the capacity, again and again, to recover from tragic and sad losses, we know and we feel that their resolve and search for peace will not be deterred. And that was said by President Karzai himself recently.
While still it is unclear who was behind this attack, we must, as Professor Rabbani’s son said at the funeral in Kabul, continue to work for peace, the same peace that Professor Rabbani had started and to which he had committed himself, sacrificed his life, in his role
as High Peace Council, Chairman.
History shows that reconciliation efforts are particularly vulnerable to attack when they start to get traction, and precisely for that reason. During the past years there has been an increased interest from many relevant parties in the idea of a peace process. Under Professor Rabbani’s leadership, the High Peace Council has in fact started to generate a form of dialogue that was definitely needed in order to address the trust deficit before talks can become more concrete.
Mr. President, the road to peace is never smooth, we know it. And the death of Professor Rabbani is not the end of the peace process; that was said by many Afghans in particular by the highest authorities in Afghanistan. It is a moment for the Afghans to recalibrate, yes; a moment that calls for national unity among the leaders and people of Afghanistan as they are again resisting another tragic loss. I myself was recently invited to a showing of an Afghan film. That film was celebrating the achievement of four Afghans, four young Afghans, who, with no previous experience, and with the support of outsiders, were able to overcome the highest physical obstacle in Afghanistan and become the first team of Afghans to stand on the top of Mount Noshaq – which is the highest mountain in Afghanistan. Well, that is a reminder to all of us, that the Afghan Government and Afghan people, with the support from others, like all of us here, will eventually be able to work together to find a peaceful solution to their problems. There is no alternative to a political solution. And there has been a window of opportunity for talks to begin, albeit very narrow and clearly fragile and we need to pursue it.
Peace is a process not an event, a process in which in order to be sustainable and deliver lasting results must be broad-based including Afghans of all kinds, including civil society. The priority must continue to be a dialogue among Afghans themselves led by them, with non Afghans like all of us playing a supportive role, if and when required.
At the national level and as proof of their continued commitment to search for peace, we would be supporting and hoping that, and we know it is going to happen, that the Afghan Government, will be proceeding with a swift appointment of an authoritative voice, not to replace, because Professor Rabbani is not replaceable, but to persist with the efforts he led within the High Peace Council.
Peace efforts are also very much about redressing local grievances. And here I would like pay respect, single out Minister Stanekzai, a friend, to whom we should be, and we are, wishing a swift recovery from his wounds. Efforts done by him to advance the APRP as a critical process at the local level have been crucial and need to continue as a dispute resolution mechanism, in addition to other similar mechanisms. That is why we want to praise and commend the timely convening of a recent conference on APRP in Kandahar.
Why, because in fact this is an opportunity to promote reintegration further, particularly in the south where, in all frankness, there has been less progress compared to the northern part of the country. And furthermore, regarding APRP, we should remain vigilant in ensuring a proper and rigorous vetting mechanism. Our recollection of the tragic events in Mazar-i-Sharif, and now with Professor Rabbani, are reminding us how important vetting can be and should be.
On a positive note, regarding the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army we have noticed the positive progress in development both Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police and they have shown they are capable of enabling themselves of taking on more security responsibility and to become more self-sustaining and that is why in spite of all these incidents transition goes forward. Recent security incidents, while regrettable for the loss of life, have also shown the increased ability of the ANSF –which is the national security system, – to manage such incidents in a controlled and proportionate manner. I will give another personal example if I may: in August, among the many attacks which have taken place, there was an attack in Abdul Haq Square.
Well on that occasion, which lasted several hours, a Lt. Colonel called Safiullah, who was the Chief Policeman in the area, embraced the suicide attacker, who was moving towards the people in the square and exploded with him and died; by doing so, saving many lives including his own team. These are the type of example that make us foreigners in Kabul feel it is not rhetoric when we say that the Afghan National Police is growing in the respect of the people and in respect of its own functions. Human rights: The human cost in the lives of average Afghans is still too high, as President Karzai is constantly reminding us. While some security incidents -and certainly military incidents- may be fewer in numbers -and there is no question of that as compared
to the past- the overall level of civilian casualties unfortunately is still high, too high. And
one civilian casualty is one too many. We are increasingly concerned with these rising casualties and the use of certain tactics –particularly by the Taliban, frankly- that produce civilian casualties. There is therefore the need for a surge in protection of civilians. The Afghan state, which has done a lot, is to continue to distinguish itself by putting respect for universal human rights at the centre of their own policies and practices, including in the treatment of prisoners and detainees, where we are seeing encouraging movements in the right direction. And when they take place we should acknowledge that, like the most encouraging improved regulation on women’s shelters that can potentially go a long way in protecting Afghan women and girls who often have been suffering the risk of violence and abuse.
Today we are having an important meeting at a very sad and important moment in Afghan history. This is one of the meetings which are preparing for two crucial meetings taking place this year: one is Istanbul and the other one is Bonn. We hope they will be an opportunity for collective determination to support and reassure the Afghan Government and people that we will be with them in the long run. It is our responsibility to ensure that the upcoming conferences, particularly these two, are not ceremonial –and we know they are not going to be ceremonial – but complementary, substantive and forwardlooking.
Istanbul, 2nd November, an important rendezvous. That will be, we hope, the opportunity for the region to gather in Istanbul with the intent, and beyond, of setting in motion a means to establish what is being defined as a benign regional order, where Afghanistan and its own neighbours will exchange mutual assurances towards creating a stable and prosperous Heart of Asia. Afghanistan, according to their own feelings –and we share itshould not be the subject but the catalyst for this conference, where the region can discuss concrete –not theoretical- ways on how to develop confidence-building measures to address common challenges. There has been a lot of constructive work done already, particularly on the economic side, but I think Istanbul aspires to address, according to the Afghan desires – who are in charge of this- we want to thank the Turkish authorities for their hospitality and vision in offering this opportunity, to also address political and security issues, not economic ones only. At the upcoming –in two days time- preparatory meeting in Oslo we believe will help and ensure that there is a clear identity among
regional players -and beyond- about a possibility of a brainstorming on these ideas so that we do come up with a strong declaration -or something along those lines- which could come up in Istanbul and, possibly, some type of follow-up structural approach, in order to ensure that whatever will be discussed in Istanbul will not just be a statement.
UNAMA encourages and supports those efforts and is part of those but of course recognising the strong leadership of the two co-chairs, particularly Afghanistan and Turkey, and we are supporting very important initiatives such as the New Silk Road, which are in the interests of Afghanistan, its neighbours and the broader region and where we should be investing our attention. Only trust among Afghanistan and her neighbours and trust among individuals will create an atmosphere in which private investment, as we hope, will become more active and can thrive.
Bonn, on 5th December. We are looking forward to Bonn. It has the potential of having a historical impact although, as always, we should always be cautious in our expectations; but our hopes are very high. It is a crucial opportunity to assess Transition, which is moving and by that time we will have also other meetings in other fora indicating the wish by the Afghan authorities and ISAF on how to substantially, we hope, increase the transition momentum, promote support beyond 2014, because they need to feel they will not be abandoned once again, and facilitate whatever would be progress, hopefully, in the direction of reconciliation.
There were clouds last time I had the privilege to meet you here. These two clouds, one was the electoral follow-up and the parliamentary crisis and the other one was related to the Kabul bank. I do not want to be perceived as overly optimistic but I think that both clouds are dissipating. On the first one, thanks to a very courageous and wise decision by President Karzai, the Independent Electoral Commission was recognised as the final authority on electoral issues, like in any part of the world where democracy is moving in the right direction. And therefore we have now come to the conclusion of a difficult –but probably useful- journey related to the electoral process and I believe that we will be going in a much smoother direction to the next elections, because recognising that the Independent Electoral Commission is the final authority is a very good starting point for future elections and for the democratic process of separation of powers in Afghanistan.
So, good movement in the right direction, nothing is perfect anywhere, not only in Afghanistan; but in the right direction. The cloud, we are feeling, is moving away. On the Kabul bank we see light, light behind the cloud. There is a possibility of seeing an agreement in principle on an IMF programme and we believe that can be reached through the ongoing negotiations. An IMF technical mission actually is going to arrive in Kabul on 30th, tomorrow, and will stay there for 10 days to finalise discussions. An IMF Board meeting is scheduled for mid-November. That means also that another important element of what we call the ARTF, which basically is a special window of financial support to short term funding for key national priority programmes, is looking much more positive.
Additional funds are required but already many countries have been already indicating their continuation of it, while waiting for the cloud to totally disappear. And in that context I think that, with the Minister of Finance, we are likely to be able to co-chair and aim at co-chairing and convening a JCMB, which refers to a common board between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community on economic joint activities- which has been in suspension during this period, and do it in November, which means before Bonn. On the Review, which, as you know, we take very seriously and we know the Afghan authorities take rightly very seriously, we will continue to work in order to ensure that the Terms of Reference are satisfactory to everyone – and in particular to the Afghan authorities, to work in close cooperation with them and of course in close respect of the Security Council mandate.
On the humanitarian side, although we recognize that there are so many other areas in the world where humanitarian priorities need to draw your attention, we believe that the drought is an issue of concern and that the humanitarian community is going to be
required to keep a close eye, together with the Afghan authorities, to avoid that, in addition to insecurity, the price of drought may produce food shortages in the future. That is why we are looking forward to see the outcome of the 2011 CAP Emergency Revision, which is focussing also on the issue of drought. On the counter-narcotics, I will never stop reminding all of us and each one of us, that what is being done is not enough and that the issue remains serious both for the Afghans and frankly for neighbouring countries and their own people.
Finally, Mr. President, dear Minister Rassoul and dear friends, The next three months are likely to be very challenging. From a security point of view I am afraid the writing on the wall is clear: we will have to endure, resist and go forward, even if this pattern of security challenges is likely to be in place. We are also going to have other types of opportunities, such as transition – second tranche – Istanbul and Bonn. When in December I will have the honour to come back here to do my last briefing in my current capacity, I hope I will be able to bring you good news. The Afghans deserve nothing else.
Thank you Mr. President.
Ban: ‘Together, No Challenge Is Too Large — Together, Nothing Is Impossible’
Five-Year Term Runs From 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016;
Assembly President Joseph Deiss Praises Ban’s ‘Loyalty, Discretion and Conscience’
Acting on the recommendation of the Security Council, the General Assembly this afternoon unanimously appointed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a second five-year term beginning 1 January 2012.
In a draft resolution adopted by acclamation, the Assembly also expressed its appreciation for Mr. Ban’s effective and dedicated service during his first term.
After taking the oath of office — the current term ends on 31 December 2011 — Mr. Ban said the Assembly had given him a great honour that was “beyond expression”.
“By acting decisively to renew my mandate, you have given the gift of time — time to carry on the important work that, together, we have begun,” he said, adding that in the coming months, he would solicit Member States’ views and ideas in order to present a broader long-term vision at the Assembly session in September. “Together, no challenge is too large. Together, nothing is “impossible,” he promised.
He listed the United Nations many accomplishments since he first took office in January 2007, namely its role in putting climate change squarely on the global agenda; making progress in nuclear disarmament; advancing global health, sustainable development and education; saving lives amid devastating natural disasters; promoting democracy, justice and human rights; creating a new dimension for the responsibility to protect; and setting up UN Women to empower women worldwide.
He pledged to work as a “harmonizer and bridge-builder” among all stakeholders to uphold the United Nations Charter and lead the Organization, whose role mattered in a different and deeper way than ever before. “To lead, we must deliver results. Mere statistics will not do,” he said, stressing that the United Nations had far to go, for which decisive, concerted action was needed. “In economic hard times, we must stretch resources — do better with less. We must improve our ability to ‘Deliver as One’.”
In addition, the United Nations must “do more to connect the dots among the world’s challenges, so that solutions to one global problem become solutions for all,” he said. A clear timeframe lay ahead: the target date for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, next year’s Rio+20 Conference and the high-level meeting on nuclear safety in September.
General Assembly President Joseph Deiss lauded Mr. Ban’s remarkable leadership of the Organization thus far and his success in strengthening its role and visibility through reform measures, exciting and innovative initiatives, and his constant call for respect for human rights, the rule of law and other Charter-based values. “Loyalty, discretion and conscience,” which the Secretary-General had sworn to exercise when he first took office, had been more than just words. “For the past five years, on a daily basis, they have truly guided you in your work,” Mr. Deiss said.
He praised Mr. Ban for creating the Department of Field Support, the Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), in order to achieve greater efficiency. In addition, he listed Mr. Ban’s role in implementing the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and promoting the safe use of civil nuclear energy.
He also gave Mr. Ban high marks for being extremely transparent about his activities and travel abroad, and for strongly collaborating with the General Assembly. Such ties were important, as they fostered dialogue between the Secretariat and Member States and contributed to the revitalization of the Assembly, within the Organization and on the international stage. “The task is not easy, as you know, but I assure you of the full support of the General Assembly and its Member States,” he said.
Nelson Messone (Gabon), President of the Security Council, who introduced the draft resolution, also made congratulatory remarks.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea also made a statement.
Also speaking today were representatives of Senegal (on behalf of the African States), Kuwait (on behalf of the Asian States), Republic of Moldova (on behalf of the Eastern European States), Bolivia (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Israel (on behalf of the Western European and other States) and the United States (on behalf of the host country).
The General Assembly met this afternoon to take action on a draft resolution on the appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (document A/65/L.80.
Action on Draft Resolution
NELSON MESSONE (Gabon), President of the Security Council, introduced that draft resolution. He congratulated Mr. Ban and lauded his exemplary service to the Organization since taking office in 2007. The Assembly then adopted the text by acclamation.
Following that action, JOSEPH DEISS, President of the General Assembly, thanked the Secretary-General for his remarkable leadership of the Organization thus far. “Your reappointment today is a sign of the esteem that all those States have for you and of their confidence in you,” he said.
He said “loyalty, discretion and conscience”, which the Secretary-General had sworn to exercise when he first took office, had been more than just words. “For the past five years, on a daily basis, they have truly guided you in your work,” he said.
Mr. Deiss said that since the Secretary-General assumed office he had strengthened the United Nations role and the visibility 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 the Charter. His tireless commitment to serving the international community was evident in many areas.
In security and peacekeeping, the Secretary-General had set up the Department of Field Support to focus on more effective management with a view to greater impact on the ground, Mr. Deiss said. In disarmament and reduction of the world’s nuclear arsenal, he had created the Office for Disarmament Affairs and launched an initiative to convene a meeting on disarmament in the margins of the Assembly session last summer — moves which gave new impetus to that key issue.
To advance women’s empowerment and rights, the Secretary-General had combined the mandates of various programmes into the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in order to achieve greater efficiency, he said. During the Assembly’s dialogue on development last week, Member States had measured progress in implementing the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. He listed Mr. Ban’s commitment to combating climate change, fostering sustainable development and promoting the safe use of civil nuclear energy.
The past few months had been particularly tumultuous for the international community, he said. “You have said that the “Arab Spring” was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is essential to show our solidarity with people who aspire to greater freedom, democracy and well-being,” Mr. Deiss said. Recent events had shown that the world needed the United Nations and that the Organization needed a Secretary-General with the qualities of leadership and determination. The world needed a solid, credible Organization with a Secretariat and intergovernmental bodies that were mutually reinforcing.
Mr. Deiss lauded the excellent collaboration between his Office and that of the Secretary-General, saying the Secretary-General had “always been extremely transparent” concerning his activities and travels abroad. For example, on 28 March, upon his return from North Africa, the Secretary-General had immediately come before the Assembly to report on recent developments in the region. Such ties were important; they fostered dialogue between the Secretariat and Member States and contributed to the revitalization of the Assembly, within the Organization and on the international stage. “The task is not easy, as you know, but I assure you of the full support of the General Assembly and its Member States,” he said.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal), speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, expressed congratulations and said that a feeling of widespread satisfaction was at the core of massive support for Mr. Ban’s second term. The African Group was pleased to continue dynamic, effective cooperation with the Secretary-General to carry out the ideals of the Charter. He praised Mr. Ban’s “professionalism, dedication and firm determination to raise high the torch of the United Nations”, which had led to internal management reforms, and he welcomed the “vigorous and effective” way in which the Secretary-General had faced pressing global problems. Under his leadership, the Organization had been able to refocus efforts on the Millennium Development Goals, global peace and security, climate change, democracy, human rights and women’s empowerment. Mr. Diallo hoped that the Secretary-General’s second term would be an opportunity to strengthen his action in favour of Africa.
MANSOUR AYYAD ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), speaking on behalf of the Group of Asian States, said he appreciated the great sacrifices of Mr. Ban’s family to stand behind him to serve the international community. Support by the regional groups and the Security Council for Mr. Ban was a testament to the global community’s recognition of his efforts during the past four and a half years to enhance the Organization’s legitimacy. Mr. Ban had many accomplishments and initiatives. There were many complicated global issues that needed a collective solution, including climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, disease, social justice and peace and security worldwide. The world faced difficult circumstances. The road to solve them was not easy. The global community must have the political will to achieve its objectives. Mr. Ban’s great experience ensured it that all efforts possible would continue to coordinate international action to face those challenges. He hoped that the Secretary-General would continue his reform efforts.
ALEXANDRU CUJBA (Republic of Moldova), speaking on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States, said the Secretary-General had, during his first term, demonstrated deep commitment to multilateral diplomacy as the central approach to promoting international peace and security, enhancing international cooperation and finding solutions to global problems. “The Organization’s strengthening and consolidating leaders is the essence of our General Assembly [where] we join our efforts and determination towards fulfilment of far-reaching and ambitious global goals,” he said, adding that his delegation had been particularly pleased by the Secretary-General’s assertion that “the agenda of the Member States is the agenda”.
He went on to say that the Secretary-General had demonstrated that moving the Organization forward was possible, and the Eastern European States stood by the Secretary-General’s efforts to build a stronger, more effective world body that would invigorate the entire United Nations system. The Group also applauded the Secretary-General’s dedication to, among others, broad achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; his engagement in the effort to tackle the effects of climate change; promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law; and building momentum on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Group expressed its confidence in full cooperation with the Secretary-General during the next five years and pledged to support his priorities.
PABLO SOLÓN (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, said his delegation welcomed the Secretary-General’s reappointment. It favoured the enhancement of the Organization’s power and influence, and in that regard, underscored the roles of the Secretary-General in implementing the purposes of the Charter. The Group appreciated his dedication and hard work in the face of many challenges and expressed its readiness to continue working with him to achieve the Organization’s noble goals and objectives.
RON PROSOR (Israel), speaking on behalf of the Group of Western European and Other States, said the unanimous support for the Secretary-General’s reappointment expressed by his delegation reflected the widespread recognition of Mr. Ban’s exceptional leadership abilities. Always striving to serve as a bridge-builder, the Secretary-General had displayed a tireless commitment to his duties over the past five years. He had also sought to advance the causes of peace, security, stability and human rights. With great dedication, the Secretary-General had led the international community’s efforts in many conflict zones and its response to tragic natural disasters all over the world.
In the face of a major economic crisis, the Secretary-General had provided essential leadership and had worked to ensure that those most affected by the downturn were not forgotten, he continued. To advance prosperity, Mr. Ban had helped to facilitate renewed commitments to the Millennium Development Goals. In an age of fiscal austerity, he had emphasized the pressing need for a more innovative and effective United Nations. The coming years were sure to bring with them great challenges, and the Group was confident that with Secretary-General Ban at the helm, the United Nations would continue to offer essential leadership for the international community.
SUSAN RICE (United States), speaking on behalf of the host country, said today was an important day in the life of the United Nations. No one understood the burdens of the role of the Secretary-General better than Mr. Ban. The United States was grateful that Mr. Ban was willing to continue to take them on. In the past four years, the Secretary-General had navigated turbulent waters with a steady hand. Everyone had benefited from his selfless career of public service and experience. “He’s a leader who listens to the voices of the voiceless,” she said, lauding his work to give shelter to internally displaced persons, vaccinate children against disease and save innocent lives. Under his leadership, the United Nations had moved to face the challenges of the next century. He had been a “champion of peace and security, an advocate of development and a voice for universal human rights”, she said.
Ms. Rice lauded the Secretary-General for speaking out with compassion for Haiti, democracy in Côte d’Ivoire and the responsibility to protect in Libya. He had encouraged the international community to promote truly sustainable development to expand the circle of prosperity and he had insisted in recognizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights were simply human rights. He had made important changes such as hiring more women for senior posts, proposing the deepest reduction for the United Nations budget in decades, and merging four disparate bodies into UN Women. She looked forward to working with him in the next term to move swiftly to reduce bureaucracy, continue management reform and create a culture of economy and excellence. She renewed the United States pledge of friendship and support to Mr. Ban as he took up one of the “toughest jobs on earth”.
KIM-SUNG HWAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, said he shared the great joy of the Republic of Korea for the Secretary-General’s reappointment, and he looked forward to another fruitful five years. Mr. Ban was widely respected in Korea for his knowledge and strong work ethic. His status as a legend came from his many distinct attributes, including his ability to make the most essential decisions in the most difficult moments. His achievements as Secretary-General in the past four and a half years were grounded in those attributes and his humanity, which he had shown in places such as Haiti, Gaza, Chile and Pakistan. Recently, in North Africa and the Middle East, he had taken decisive steps to lead the world with wisdom and courage. In the case of Côte d’Ivoire, his tireless passion had played a pivotal role in safeguarding democracy and protecting civilian lives.
With his commitment, the critical issue of climate change had been elevated to the forefront of the international agenda, he said. He was confident that with full support from Member States, the Secretary-General would show the way forward to achieve the goals of peace and prosperity for humankind. The Republic of Korea would stand behind him firmly to create a stronger world. In addition to doubling official development assistance (ODA) by 2015, the Republic of Korea was implementing domestic policies in line with global partnerships for development. It would host a high-level forum in November to discuss aid effectiveness. Currently, there were 600 Korean soldiers in nine peacekeeping missions, including in Lebanon and Haiti.
Statement by Secretary-General
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, took the oath of office. He then said that the Assembly, with its decision, had done him a very great honour that was “beyond expression”. “I am humbled by your trust, and enlarged by our sense of common purpose,” he said. He and the United Nations had begun working together, four and a half years ago, with a call for a “new multilateralism” — a new spirit of collective action.
The Organization had seen, in its daily work, how all the world’s people looked more and more to the United Nations, he said. In era of integration and interconnection, no country could solve all challenges on its own; all should be part of the solution. The United Nations role was to lead; it mattered in a different and deeper way than ever before. “To lead, we must deliver results. Mere statistics will not do. We need results that people can see and touch, results that change lives — make a difference,” he said.
Working together, with goodwill and mutual trust, the United Nations had laid a firm foundation for the future, placing climate change squarely on the global agenda, making progress in nuclear disarmament and advancing global health, sustainable development and education, he said. The world was on track to eliminate deaths from malaria. With a final push, it could eradicate polio.
It had shielded the poor and vulnerable against the greatest economic upheaval in generations, he said. Amid devastating natural disasters, the world was there, saving lives — in Haiti, Pakistan, Myanmar. As never before, the United Nations was on the front lines protecting people and helping build the peace — in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia; in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.
The United Nations had stood firm for democracy, justice and human rights — in Côte d’Ivoire, North Africa and beyond, he said. It had carved out a new dimension for the Responsibility to Protect. It had created UN Women to empower women everywhere. But it still had far to go. “As we look to the future, we recognize the imperative for decisive and concerted action. In economic hard times, we must stretch resources — do better with less. We must improve our ability to ‘Deliver as One’,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “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 lay ahead: the target date for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, next year’s Rio+20 Conference and the high-level meeting on nuclear safety in September. The ultimate power in that was partnership.
“By acting decisively to renew my mandate, you have given the gift of time — time to carry on the important work that, together, we have begun,” he said, and added that in coming months, he would reach out to Member States for their views and ideas in order to present a broader long-term vision at the Assembly session in September.
“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,” he said. “Out of the competition of ideas, let us find unity in action.” He pledged his full commitment to uphold the fundamental principles of the Charter. “Together, no challenge is too large. Together, nothing is impossible,” he said.
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