UN Headquarters

09 February 2010

Comments at meeting with Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Ban Ki-moon

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the United Nations, as you assume new and very important responsibilities as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict.

Your appointment is a clear demonstration of our firm commitment of the United Nations in the fight against sexual violence against women in armed conflict situations. As you know, this has been our priority agenda, not only for the United Nations but this is the high expectation of the international community.

That is why the Security Council has adopted a very important Resolution [1888]. As Special Representative on Sexual Violence against Women in Armed Conflict, I expect that you would provide a coherent and strategic leadership to capitalize and mobilize action against sexual violence and, secondly, secure sustained momentum and support from civilian and military leaders to address this issue.

Now is the time to change from rhetoric to action, to respond to prevent and ultimately to eradicate sexual violence against women in armed conflict.

I also expect that you will very closely coordinate and work together with the existing coordination mechanisms through UN action to fight against sexual violence. I count on your continuing leadership and commitment. Thank you very much.

Ms. Wallström: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General. I feel both honoured and humbled, because I know that this will also be difficult. It is a huge challenge. But it is also a mission irresistible. Thank you for putting this trust in me, and I can promise that I am one hundred percent committed, if not more. I like what I hear about going into action. I think that is what is needed. We have a wonderful text, a good UN resolution, and now it is a matter of implementing it and making sure that we enforce the rules that exist. I will do my very best.

I know that I can build on – I do not start from scratch – I can build on what is already happening in the UN system, and that is of course a huge asset. May I say that the response has been enormous. I have received so much support and encouragement and expectations. So I think that is a great power and a fantastic platform to stand on. Thank you. And I see here, of course, all the people that I hope to be working closely with, including you. I will be one hundred percent loyal to you, and help you as much as I can.