Farewell, Ban Ki-moon

Published: January 3, 2017

Mr Ban Ki-moon leaves his post as secretary general to the United Nations with world peace still in a state of tumult. He has laurels to add to his tenure while in office, but the end of his term leaves us feeling insecure and uncertain in the reality of current affairs. Mr Ki-moon’s work focused on gender inequality, climate change, and poverty. He was less successful in conflict-resolution between war-torn nations including Syria, South Sudan, and the Congo. His intentions were visible, but his approach may have been weak as Mr Ki-moon was reputed to lack the charm and dynamic communication skills needed to affect and agglutinise world players. His reputation was more of a timid, soft-spoken man. He was well-spoken and compassionate, but perhaps unable to inspire the latter in other world leaders. World peace was not solely his responsibility but he took ownership and worked towards it. He was correct in saying the job of the UN secretary-general is to merely implement the policies of the leaders of member nations. Member nations now need to continue working with cooperation in this current state of turmoil. Success will not be achieved if countries work selfishly to push their individual agendas; they must collectively decide what is best for achieving the lofty dream of world peace.

It will be intriguing to follow Mr Ki-moon’s journey as he returns to South Korea, his home country. He is rumoured to take over as prime minister of the country which has its own peace issues, especially with the country it borders and its controversial leader. As for the UN’s role going forward, we have no choice now but to entrust incoming Secretary General Antonio Guterres, former Portuguese prime minister, with our world peace complications. We hope to continue seeing priority given to gender inequality and climate change, which Mr Ki-moon reintroduced in his tenure, but the more pressing issue of ending the war in Syria and elsewhere is the need of the hour as human lives and freedom need to be protected.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2017.

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