Furthering the Work of the United Nations

Highlights of the Tenure of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 2007-2016

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This volume explores United Nations efforts over the past decade to uphold the values and advance the objectives of the UN Charter. It offers a reflection on the challenges, explains the Organization's approaches, and catalogues both gains and setbacks, as well as suggests avenues for future action. This book highlights the fact that under Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's tenure there has been a dramatic rise in the expectations placed on the UN. Those demands emanate from the world’s people, governments, those caught up in conflict or oppression, and from Mother Earth, suffering so much from decades of misuse. Today’s UN is asked to work in more spheres of activity, more locations and more difficult circumstances. It has deployed more peace operations than ever and now serves the largest humanitarian caseload in history. With the adoption of bold new goals on sustainability and climate change, the UN also has the most ambitious development agenda since its founding.



Progress on the disarmament agenda

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took office at a time of accelerating change in the nature of threats and challenges to international security as well as of increasing polarization on key questions of disarmament. The world order had become increasingly complex and multipolar, with non-State actors gaining considerable capabilities to conduct and sustain acts of armed violence. By 2007, early post-cold war progress on diminishing reliance on nuclear weapons had begun to falter as major powers turned away from multilateralism, strategic self-restraint and reliance on the rule of law. As armed conflict transitioned from an inter-State phenomenon to a largely internal one, small arms and light weapons emerged as the leading killer. The unregulated and illicit trade in conventional arms, coupled with ceaseless annual increases in global military expenditures, continued to fuel armed violence and jeopardize the goals of the United Nations in the areas of peace, security and development. The Organization’s disarmament machinery had already experienced a full decade of paralysis, leading the Secretary-General, in his first personal address to the Conference on Disarmament in 2008, to describe that body’s successes as “distant memories”.


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