New York, 16 January 2007 - Secretary-General's MESSAGE TO THE SEVENTH SUMMIT ON THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF UNITED NATIONS STAFF AND ASSOCIATED PERSONNEL - Delivered by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Chef de CabinetMr. Majoor, [Acting President of the General Assembly]
Mr. Churkin, [President, Security Council]
Mr. Hachani, [President, ECOSOC]
Mr. Dimitri Samaras [Chairperson of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Staff Council]
Dear colleagues and friends,
I regret I could not be with you today for this meeting on staff security, an issue of critical importance to the achievement of the mandates entrusted to us by the Member States. Indeed, only by identifying and managing the risks we face, will be able to maintain an effective and robust global presence.
We are all familiar with the range of threats faced by peacekeeping, humanitarian and other staff, and by our colleagues from the media and civil society who work alongside us. Attacks, kidnappings, intimidation and other security incidents are a direct impediment to our work and to the delivery of assistance. With staff currently deployed in so many dangerous and life-threatening situations, we can expect more such challenges in the year ahead -- from Afghanistan to Iraq and Somalia; from Colombia to Sri Lanka; in responding to the expanding crisis in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic; and in natural and man-made disasters alike. We will have to maintain our utmost vigilance against this stark reality.
Since arriving in New York, I have been impressed by how seriously the United Nations takes its security management. It is clear to me that our system reflects tremendous thought and effort, and that our security professionals are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of duty of care. It is encouraging to know that I, who bear ultimate responsibility for UN security, will be able to rely on this capacity.
At the outset of my tenure, let me assure you that I attach the highest importance to ensuring that UN staff have the safety and security they need to carry out their vital missions. When attacks and incidents do occur, I will press for justice and for Member States to uphold their obligations under the relevant international laws.
Effective security management, responsive and accountable, cannot be an afterthought or be short-changed in our budgeting. It is a core aspect of our global operations, which we must always strive to improve. But of course, this effort will require robust collaboration. Therefore I will count on all individuals, and all UN organizations, to do their part. In that spirit, I look forward to working closely with you. I thank the staff union for maintaining its keen interest in this issue. And I offer all of you my best wishes for a productive discussion.
Statements on 16 January 2007