Outgoing UN secretary general honoured

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Outgoing UN secretary general honoured

Outgoing UN secretary general honoured

(New York) – Member states of the United Nations paid tribute to outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, commending him for the work achieved during his 10 years in office.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in tribute to Ban for “his exceptional contribution to the work of the organization,” including for “improving people’s lives and protecting our planet for future generations.” During his 10-year tenure, Ban oversaw the passing of the Paris climate deal, the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals, which are a set of global markers to be met by 2030, and has also advanced equal rights for women and minorities.

Ban, who got a standing ovation from the General Assembly, said that serving the UN was the privilege “of a lifetime.” “I am a child of the United Nations,” Ban said. “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.” Ban said that his appreciation for the organization had only grown since he took office, seeing the UN’s work in crises around the world.

“Even as I prepare to leave, my heart will stay as it has since I was a child – right here with the United Nations,” Ban said.

In an emotional tribute, Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, said that growing up in poverty and relying on UN aid during the Korean War had shaped Ban as a leader.
“If one were to have bet on the likelihood of a child becoming secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon would have been a long shot at best,” Power said.

Ban was born into such poverty, Power noted, that his parents, who had lost babies before him, decided that they would only get him a birth certificate if he survived his first month – which is why Ban does not know his exact date of birth to this day.

Such experiences have shaped him and have instilled in him a belief that no one should be left behind, the ambassador said.

“He can see himself in those in need because he has been there,” Power said.

Ban’s successor, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, took the oath of office setting the stage for him to take over the post on January 1, 2017.