PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 25 JANUARY 2012
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you.
This is the first press conference of my second term. I’m glad to be with you today and look forward to building on our good relations with the UN press corps, and I count on your support.
As you know, I just briefed the General Assembly on my Action Agenda for 2012 and beyond, for the coming five years.
I won’t repeat the details. You have the speech and the agenda before you. We are also posting it on the Web, with links to UN Facebook and Twitter.
Let me step back briefly and explain the thinking behind the Agenda.
In addition to the core business of the United Nations, I wanted our team to look deeply at the world and our work today. I wanted to identify areas where opportunity and need come together like never before.
These are times of austerity. Yet, these are also times of promise. More people are becoming engaged; more people are empowered to make a real difference.
If we dedicate our energies and mobilize the UN system, we can move the needle for generations to come. We can create the future we want.
In September, we identified five imperatives – five generational opportunities for change.
Preventing conflicts and disasters, human rights abuses and development setbacks.
Building a safer and more secure world, including by standing strong on fundamental principles of democracy and human rights.
Supporting nations in transition.
Working with and for women and young people.
Today I laid out a roadmap for delivering. What’s new? There are too many initiatives to list, but let me highlight five:
First, we have an unprecedented opportunity to wipe out deaths from five of the world’s biggest killers. With focused engagement by the UN and its global partners, we can eliminate deaths from malaria, polio, paediatric HIV infections, and maternal and neonatal tetanus. We are also close to ending deaths from measles once and for all.
Second: sustainable development.
As we look to this year’s Rio+20
Third, these are anxious times for families around the world. Earlier this week, the ILO announced that the world will need 600 million new jobs over the next decade for sustainable growth.
We need to mobilize the international system like never before to expand economic opportunity. We need a new social contract.
Our Agenda starts with economic empowerment for women and expanded opportunities for young people. I will appoint a new Special Representative for Youth to engage young people and spearhead our efforts.
Fourth, we push on prevention. Prevention saves billions of dollars and millions of lives. The UN is the world’s fire brigade in responding to disasters and keeping the peace.
Our Action Agenda will place prevention at the very centre of our work, from development to peace and security to protecting human rights and advancing democracy.
Fifth, we will work with Member States to declare a new environmental frontier: an Antarctic Nature Preserve.
Over the last half century, the southern ice cap has been melting. Pollution is threatening species. The Antarctic is an essential ecosystem, like nowhere else on Earth. We have a chance to save it and we must come together to do so.
We can do this, and more, through the power of partnerships and a stronger UN.
Today I announced that we will create a UN Partnership facility. We need to mobilize the formidable resources of the private sector, civil society, philanthropists and academia behind a broader range of the UN agenda.
I also announced that the UN will launch a new generation of the UN Delivering As One, focused on managing for results and improved accountability.
Let me turn now to current events.
This morning saw the conclusion of the latest round of
We still have far to go. But we will spare no effort. I will not repeat what I said this morning.
Regarding Somalia, this is a landmark day: our special envoy, Mr. Augustine Mahiga, has formally moved his office – UNPOS – the UN Political Office in Somalia - to Mogadishu — an important expression of confidence and commitment for the country’s future.
Let me conclude by noting that today marks the one-year
Yesterday, Field Marshall Tantawi announced a partial lifting of the state of emergency. I encourage the transitional authorities to pursue the peaceful and early handover of power to civilian government, to uphold human rights, to release political detainees and accelerate the pace of reform.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today I leave for the World Economic Forum at Davos.
This year, the main debate will be on topics that are front and centre of the work of the United Nations -- the social contract, social issues, social justice.
I look forward to hearing fresh ideas.
I will take part in sessions on sustainable energy for all, women's and children's health, and seizing the opportunity presented by the upcoming Rio + 20 conference on sustainable development and I will have a number bilaterals with leaders participating in the Davos Forum.
On 29 January, I will be in
Then, I will visit the Middle East --
My visit comes at an important moment.
As you know, Israelis and Palestinian negotiators began
preparatory talks in
I will be there to encourage both sides to re-engage in earnest and create a positive atmosphere for moving forward.
Ladies and Gentlemen, before concluding, and before receiving your questions, I would like to make a short statement on senior appointments on my team.
In keeping with the plans announced on December 5, 2011, for the anticipated changes in the senior posts of managers, I would like to make an additional announcement, in addition to what my Chef de Cabinet had already announced at that time.
First, I would like to inform you that the Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs. Asha-Rose Migiro, and my Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, expressed their wish to step down, so as to allow me to compose a new team of senior managers for the second term.
I wish to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to
Deputy Secretary-General Migiro and Mr. Nambiar for their unfailing support, wise counsel, and
dedication in handling the many challenges that have faced the Organization
during my first term. To ensure
continuity up to the
Second, I intend to seek nominations for the Under-Secretary-General position of the Department of Management to supplement my own search efforts. I am grateful to Ms. Angela Kane for her dedication and commitment to improving the management of the work of the United Nations and its reform agenda. My special thanks go to her and her team at the Department of Management for their hard work to get through the difficult yet successful budget process late last year.
Third, two Under-Secretaries-General – my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and Special Adviser for Prevention of Genocide, will relinquish their duties mid this year. I intend to carefully review the needs of these offices, with a view to taking stock of the achievements made so far and to suggest a way forward to scale up and harness institutional synergy with the related offices. I pay tribute to the tireless efforts and unrelenting commitment of both Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Mr. Francis Deng to furtherance of these important mandates of the Organization.
The search and appointment process has started to fill various senior positions, including those announced. Nine USG positions - at DPA, DESA, DM, DGACM, DPI, ODA, OSA – Office of the Special Adviser for Africa, ECA, ECE and five Assistant Secretary-General positions at the Funds and Programmes like the UNDP and UNFPA. They will proceed in a transparent and competitive manner, based on merit, while taking geographical and gender balance into account.
We will keep you informed of the progress in the composition of the new senior management team. I thank you very much for your attention, and now I am happy to take questions.
Secretary-General, on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association,
welcome to this first press conference and all the best for your second
mandate. And my question is this: the
SG: I highly commend
and appreciate the efforts of League of Arab States, and I have been constantly
keeping touch with the Secretary General Elaraby.
Even the day before yesterday I had extensive discussions, what course of
action League of Arab States is going to take, and how the United Nations can
help their efforts. As I said earlier, I am encouraged by the way the League of
Arab States is going to resolve this issue through political solutions, and
also try to support the United Nations Security Council’s efforts. And I will very closely coordinate and
evaluate all the situations regarding the situation in
Secretary-General, my question to you is about
SG: I think the
United Nations basically has been playing a very key role in furthering the
democratization process of Myanmar, and I am very pleased and encouraged by
what the current Myanmar authorities led by President Thein
Sein has been leading, including the releasing of
political prisoners. I visited
Q: Mr. Secretary, in your speech this morning you said you wanted to extend the reach and give new dimension to the International Criminal Court. Can you be more specific on that and tell us what it will entail and what can be done?
SG: I have been one
of the strong supporters and believers in putting an end to impunity through
the International Criminal Court and other regional tribunals. The United Nations during the last five years
has been able to see much progress in firmly establishing the rule of law and
also putting an end to the culture of impunity.
We have been very vocal and very strong; and I, for the first time,
participated in this Review Conference of the ICC which was held in
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, thank you very much. You mentioned in all of your five-year agenda talks this morning and earlier with the GA, the revitalization of the non-proliferation agenda. And then you said something very interesting; get to work. Who were you referring to, and what agencies? And when you said regional agencies are you looking at strengthening any of the proposed regional nuclear free zones.
SG: This realizing of a world free of nuclear weapons and ensuring that there will be no proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons; this is one of the top priorities not only of the United Nations, but humankind. The whole world has been working to realize that world. While we have seen some progress, we have not reached them. [At the] UN, this Conference on Disarmament is the only single body who is authorized and who are mandated to address these issues. Unfortunately, during the last 12 years the Conference on Disarmament has not been able to perform their role, mandate.
That is why I have addressed the CD several times already during the last five years. And I have been speaking very strongly. Even two days ago I delivered my statement that if the CD continues like this way, they may lose their relevance. And I have been really try to let them get back to work. They have not been able to agree even a programme of work. There was upon my urging three years ago; they agreed to a programme of work. But nothing has been discussed; nothing has been implemented. This is a very worrisome situation. I know there is division of positions among Member States; and at the same time I understand that there is seriousness and urgency felt by many Member States on the work of CD. I sincerely hope again and urge them to accelerate their work.
Q: Your Excellency,
in view oaf the current dangerous level of confrontation between the West and
Iran over its nuclear programme, don’t you think that the international
community should try some innovative ways of dealing with this issue other than
applying economic sanctions and threatening with military strikes? Since its 35th session the General Assembly
has invariably reached the consensus that the establishment of a nuclear free
weapons zone in the region of the
SG: You raised many
issues! [Laughter]. Let me go one by one. First, the
Iranian nuclear development programme, I have been speaking with Iranian
leaders many times directly and through my public statements that the onus is
on the Iranian side to prove that their nuclear development programme is
genuinely for peaceful purposes. And I
am concerned by the most recent report of the International Atomic Energy
Agency indicating that their programme has something to be related with the
military dimension. That
they have to prove; that their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. And they should fully cooperate with the
IAEA. And I have been urging these
members of E3+3 and
Now, about this nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle
East, this is again the mandate which I have been given by the most recent
Review Conference of NPT and as you now, I have already appointed a Finnish
diplomat as facilitator; he has been very closely and actively engaging with
the concerned parties, and we are really looking forward to this international
conference as mandated by this NPT Review Conference during this year; at a
later, later part of this year. But I am
not able to provide you any detailed information at this time, but one firm
principle is that we will hold an international conference to discuss the
establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the
how seriously do you take the in-fighting in
And secondly, on
SG: The lessons which we have learned these days, maybe in
the past through all these situations, is that democracy is not easy. People were excited,
they were full of hope and expectation – not only in
On your last question, I understand that NATO authorities
have also mentioned to the issue of how to address the accountability of the
civilian casualties in the course of military operations in
Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for this press conference. I haven’t had the privilege of asking you a question for the past two years, despite the fact that I have sough it actively, but I am sure Martin will look into that question.
Mr. Secretary-General, you have laid out a vision, an action plan for the next five years – a Road Map – as you indicated. I would like to go back to the road plan of the past five years of your mandate. Could you indicate for us the area in which you achieved most success, and about which you feel proud? And an area about which you remain still disappointed?
SG: It is very difficult to find the beginning and end in all these current crises – whether it is a manmade political crisis, or nature-made. I believe I can tell you that we have made climate change one of the most important top global agenda [items]. Now, we are trying to broaden the scope of our approaching global challenges through the vision of sustainable development. That is why I put sustainable development on the top of my list, including climate change. Climate change is a very important entry point of addressing sustainable development. I will not repeat all…there we can address the food crisis, which we have been suffering too much. Water scarcity and energy shortages and gender empowerment.
The second, of which I am proud to have made some
contribution, is gender empowerment.
Again, the Member States have met in the first World Conference on Women
in 1995 in
SG: Normally, I was advised, and I am not going to [use] the words frustration or disappointment. I have been expressing concerns many times, but if a Secretary-General is frustrated then what about other people? So let us have a strong commitment and hope and determined will before you say you are frustrated or disappointed. That is my policy.
Secretary-General, I am going to return to
SG: The UN, together
with the African Union, had been the central driving force in addressing the
Q: First, I would
like to congratulate you on a very excellently articulated five-year action
agenda, and judging from your last statement, just what you said about
SG: I have on many occasions strongly condemned these
terrorist attacks by Boko Haram,
including that time of the attack against the UN House last year. The Nigerian Government should also mobilize
full possible forces to address these Boko Haram terrorist attacks, and the UN will coordinate with
the concerned parties, international organizations and regional organizations
to address all these issues. As I said
this morning to the General Assembly, I proposed that we need to have a single
coordinated counter-terrorism mechanism combining the currently existing
functions. This is what I have been
supported by several Member States already, for my proposal to strengthen this
capacity. As you know, we have
established a counter-terrorism centre in
Secretary-General, now you have invested heavily, personally, in this
And in relation to that, what do you think about the isolations on the Turkish side, because without lifting the isolations there, it is basically not a fair situation where they can’t export anything, import anything, they can’t travel. We are in the 21st century, and you know, they are isolated very heavily. What do you say on that?
SG: As I am in the position to facilitate their negotiations, this Cypriot-led, Cypriot-owned process, I should not speak much about the detailed information of what had been discussed between the two leaders and myself also, for confidentiality. Confidentiality is a very important element to help this process move. That is what I have been emphasizing to the two leaders – please keep confidentiality.
At this time, through five rounds of such negotiations,
facilitated by myself directly, I think they have come quite close, but still,
the major, what we call the core issues - like the election of the executive,
who will become the President and Vice President, and what the relationship
will be, the rotation period, how these leaders should be elected - this is one
of the most important core issues which they have not agreed yet. A lot of proposals have been put on the
table. And there again is a very complex issue of property. One positive thing is that they are going to
exchange necessary data within two weeks on the properties located both in the
south and the north, so that they will find some mechanisms, guidelines, on how
to handle these properties. Whether it should be compensated or reinstated or
different issues And
then, citizenship. There has been an increase in population on both sides. To whom and how many people should be given
citizenship of a united federal
SAYS LIMITED PROGRESS IN
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PARTNERS TO STRENGTHEN SUPPORT TO GLOBAL FUND: The Secretary-General has been informed of Michel Kazatchkine’s announcement that he will step down, effective mid-March, from his position as Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Secretary-General commends Professor Kazatchkine for his leadership of the Fund over the last 5 years. The Secretary-General urges all partners to strengthen their support to the Global Fund in this time of transition. As a unique and innovative public-private partnership, the Global Fund has been instrumental in saving the lives of millions of people around the world.
HEAD OF U.N.
United Nations, SA-1B15