Press Conference: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
OPENING REMARKS AT PRESS CONFERENCE
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 Summit, we will forge consensus on a new generation of sustainable development goals, building on the Millennium Development Goals.
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 Cyprus talks at Greentree.
We still have far to go. But we will spare no effort. I will not repeat what I said this morning.
On Syria, I am encouraged by the Arab League’s initiative to seek a political solution to the crisis and welcome their decision to seek the support of the Security Council.
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.
On Libya, my Special Representative, Ian [Martin], and High Commissioner Navi Pillay briefed the Security Council this morning. As you know, our political mission, UNSMIL, is working to support Libyan authorities in a number of areas: elections, public security, rule of law and transitional justice.
Let me conclude by noting that today marks the one-year anniversary of Tahrir Square. On this important day, I want to congratulate the people of Egypt on their peaceful transition to democracy and their determination to push for continuing change.
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 Addis Ababa for the African Union Summit, where we will focus on further deepening the vital strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on many challenges including Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and other regional issues.
Then, I will visit the Middle East -- Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
My visit comes at an important moment.
As you know, Israelis and Palestinian negotiators began preparatory talks in Amman, in line with the most recent statement by the Quartet.
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 Rio+20 preparations, and smooth transition of my team, DSG Migiro will stay in office until the end of June this year. Mr. Nambiar will move to serve as my Special Advisor on Myanmar at an appropriate time, following the transition in my Executive Office.
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.
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