Home · Weather · Forum · Learning Chinese · Jobs · Shopping
Search This Site
China | International | Business | Government | Environment | Olympics/Sports | Travel/Living in China | Culture/Entertainment | Books & Magazines | Health
Home / International / International -- Opinion Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
UN chief gaining credibility for performance in past year
Adjust font size:

Since Ban Ki-moon was sworn in on Dec. 14, 2006 as UN secretary general, he has injected new culture, change and connotation into the organization. Despite a range of expectations, doubts, support and uncertainty, Ban is gaining credibility for both the UN and himself with his unique Asian style.


The low-profile veteran diplomat has been trying to head the Secretariat in a skilled and balanced way. He attaches equal importance to both procedure and result, avoids confrontation or contradiction, and prefers diplomacy behind the curtain. Ban adores pragmatism and likes to compromise whenever possible.


Soon after taking office, Ban told the Security Council that "we need to look at the organizational structures of all departments and offices related to peace and security and find ways to strengthen our capacities."


Ban has spared no effort in pursuing a balance of power and interests among member states. He urged his senior staff to resign collectively within a time frame before redistributing the positions. Officials from the United States, China, Britain, France and Japan became under-secretary-generals in charge of major UN departments. Africans got the remarkable post of deputy-secretary-general, and Latin-America occupied the substantial position as under-secretary-general for management.


In this way, Ban realized a balanced and stabilized internal environment, gaining him wide support from major powers and developing countries alike.


Before he became UN chief, Ban said he would set the highest ethical standards and re-establish the credit of the organization after the UN oil-for-food corruption scandal.


"We must hold all UN employees to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior," he once said.


On this point, he sought to set an early example, by submitting a financial disclosure statement to the UN Ethics Office on his first day in post with a standard external review by Price waterhouse Coopers. He thus urged all UN senior officials to submit financial disclosures, in an attempt to halt suspected widespread corruption in the system.


Meanwhile, Ban also enhanced the role of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), by separating it from the department of management and reporting to the UN chief directly. In addition, he proposed an independent budget for the OIOS, which will give the organ full independence to fulfill its responsibility.


As for the reform aimed at strengthening the capacity of UN peacekeeping operations, Ban showed both strength and compassion. His proposals, which included restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the creation of a separate Department of Field Support, were initially opposed by a large number of member states. However, after a lot of perseverance and a few compromises he successfully persuaded the member states to approve the proposals.


Now Ban is focusing his attention on the political department and is ready to carry out a series of reforms. These proposals have sparked a heated debate among the member states. In his report to the General Assembly on the biennial budget, Ban showed his intention to improve the capacity of the department by increasing personnel, deepening functions, and establishing local bureaus in some hot spots.


He also said he is prepared to reform the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2008, something which has been advocated by developing countries for years.


Ban usually pushes forward his reforms discreetly, proceeding in a placid, undetectable or even soft way. However, to the UN Secretariat, the achievement is inspiring and the changes are profound.


In dealing with international affairs Ban makes full use of his decades of diplomatic experience, achieving remarkable progress on many issues.


On the Darfur issue, he has changed the tone of the organization, shifting it from blaming the Sudanese government for human rights violations in Darfur to stressing that the source of the current conflict in the region is linked to a lack of natural resources. The move was welcomed by the Sudanese authorities. In addition, he proposed a three-part strategy featuring a political process, peacekeeping operation, and the promotion of humanitarian aid and development in an attempt to solve the issue.


Ban appointed former President of the General Assembly Jan Eliasson as his special envoy, hosted numerous negotiations between the Sudanese government, rebels and countries concerned, and sought support from major powers, including the United States, China and the European Union, to make a contribution to a final solution. His efforts led to the agreement on the deployment of the Hybrid Peacekeeping Force.


Ban well understands the role major powers play within the UN system, especially the significant role played by the United States. To some extent, whether a UN chief can succeed partially depends on whether he can get cooperation or support from the U.S.


Ban has maintained continuous communication with the U.S. government. In less than a year, he traveled to Washington D.C. as many as five times.


Ban has also devoted much time and effort to working with members of the Security Council, exploring the possibility of bringing the United Nations back to Iraq as requested by the Bush administration. In August, the council adopted a resolution to expand the role of the UN mission there, marking a turning point from the Annan era toward the country's post-war reconstruction process.


In return, criticism from the U.S. capital was remarkably reduced, and the U.S. media adopted a more positive stance toward the organization. This has created a favorable environment for the UN chief, and a public opinion poll showed that a majority of Americans viewed the UN positively.


Another issue that has boosted Ban's credibility is climate change, which he views as a severe challenge for human beings. Some have said Ban is "a man on a climate-changing mission." Ban has frequently said his first priority is persuading the world to reach an agreement on this urgent issue. At the same time, he emphasized that "the United Nations is the natural forum for building consensus and negotiating future global action," intending to ensure a leading role for the organization in the battle against climate change.


With his diligent efforts, a high-level meeting was convened on the sidelines of the general debate of the General Assembly in September, forging a coalition to accelerate a global response to climate change and build international momentum for the major summit in Bali, Indonesia.


Meanwhile, Ban highly recognizes the significance of the Bali conference, stressing that it must be a starting point for negotiations to replace commitments agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol which is due to expire in 2012. He also called for a roadmap in Bali for a better future coupled with a time-line to produce a deal by 2009.


Ban has embraced other issues such as the Middle East, Iran, the Korean Peninsula, and Myanmar with a passion. He issued calls, convened conferences, sought assistance, dispatched special envoys, and utilized other means to promote diplomatic solutions.


However, he seldom attempted to interfere with the Security Council or other institutions which are dealing with those issues. As he himself said, he is to play the role of a harmonizer and bridge-builder instead of a leader.


(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Username   Password   Anonymous

China Archives
Related >>
- Bali climate change conference reaches a deal
- UN hails US Senate steps to cut emissions
- UN praises China for forest rehabilitation initiative
- UN chief calls for renewed leadership against AIDS
- UN to help nation fight global warming
- UN establishes International Day of Democracy
- UN Security Council extends mission in Western Sahara
- UN General Assembly hails inter-Korean summit
- UN reception marks MDG midpoint
Most Viewed >>
-Chinese compatriots withdraw from Chad
-Gabon's Jean Ping elected as AU Commission chief
-FM: Taiwan, Nansha Islands all Chinese territory
-Baghdad market blasts kill 72
-World Bank chief to assess floods in Zambia
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号