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.




Many people have contributed to this book. However, it was Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who, in recalling his own experience at the very beginning of his assignment, provided the original rationale and impetus for such an exercise. He recalled that his team, upon assuming its responsibilities, had been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of documents handed over to them. One of the primary purposes of this book, therefore, is to help the incoming Secretary-General to become speedily familiarized with the complex issues confronting the United Nations in a fashion that encompasses their diversity and detail in cogent terms. Beyond assisting his successor, the Secretary-General felt that a strategic stocktaking process could serve as a unique opportunity for the Organization’s departments and offices to review the events of the past decade; reflect on transformations in the global environment; and assess, forthrightly, the ways in which the Secretariat addressed challenges, introduced new approaches and harnessed available opportunities. He hoped that the exercise would provoke honest introspection within the senior leadership team, offer a critical examination of failures and disappointments, and provide an opportunity to attenuate the inherent limitations the Organization continues to face within the realities of current global relationships. In putting this book together, senior management and many dedicated expert staff worked as a concerted team to fulfil these two purposes.


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