Monday, 12 December 2016
UN pays tribute to Ban’s service to humanity
The tribute followed the adoption of a resolution by which the 193-member body acknowledged Ban’s contributions to the work of the UN and noteworthy achievements.
The Assembly, by acclamation, adopted a resolution “placing on special record his many bold initiatives politically, diplomatically and organisational.
The resolution also placed on record, “his exceptional contribution to the work of the organisation, and his noteworthy achievements inimproving people’s lives and protecting our planet for future generations”.
“Over the last 10 years, Secretary-General Ban has led the United Nations with unwavering principles for the good, with dedicated professionalism, and with never-tiring service to humanity.
“Whether it was shifting international dynamics, a rebalancing of economic influence, rapid technological advances, or the rising interconnectivity and mobility of people, secretary-general Ban was always in the vanguard,” General Assembly President Peter Thomson, said.
Among the list of Ban’s accomplishments, Thomson cited in particular, his “unceasing efforts on the issue of climate change, which ultimately led to the adoption and entry into force of the Paris Agreement”.
The General Assembly president also lauded “his vision and determination to realise a more just, prosperous and secure world through the adoption of the 2030 Agendafor Sustainable Development”.
In addition, he commended the outgoing secretary-general for his “support for gender equality, including the establishment of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women”.
Also paying tribute to Ban were the representatives of Burkina Faso (on behalf of the African States), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (on behalf of the Asia-Pacific States), and Latvia (on behalf of the Eastern European States).
Others were Costa Rica (on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean States), Sweden (on behalf of the Western European and other States) and the U.S. (as the host country).
In response, Ban said serving as the UN scribe was a great privilege of a lifetime for him, recalling his childhood and the impact of the UN, adding “even as I prepare to leave, my heart will stay as it has since I was a child; right here with the United Nations.”
“After the Korean War, UN aid fed us. UN textbooks taught us. UN global solidarity showed us we were not alone. For me, the power of the United Nations was never abstract or academic,” he said.
The General Assembly rose in prolonged applause at the end of Ban’s speech.
The outgoing secretary-general assumed office as the UN scribe on Jan. 1, 2007, serving two terms.
The incoming secretary-general António Guterres also took oath of office as the next UN chief, from Jan. 1, 2017, for the next five years.