|© United Nations|
|UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon in New York shortly before Mr. Ban’s election as the world’s new top diplomat.|
NEW YORK, USA, 14 December 2006 – The 192-member United Nations General Assembly today paid tribute to Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the end of his 10-year tenure and witnessed the swearing-in of his successor Ban Ki-moon, who will take over as the world’s top diplomat on 1 January.
When he officially takes office, Mr. Ban will become the eighth UN Secretary-General.
After taking the oath of office, Mr. Ban pledged to continue reforming the organization so it can meet the challenges of the 21st century. “By strengthening the three pillars of our United Nations – security, development and human rights – we can build a much more peaceful, more prosperous and more just world for succeeding generations,” he said.
A lifetime of service
Today’s events focused largely on recognizing the outgoing Secretary-General’s achievements in positioning the UN to face the new challenges.
By acclamation, the Assembly adopted a resolution of tribute for Mr. Annan who, in the words of its president, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, has devoted his life to the world body.
“His career has been unique,” she said. “He has risen through the ranks of the United Nations and devoted his life’s service to the organization. So today we are not only bidding farewell to the current Secretary-General, but also to one of the longest-serving officials of the United Nations.”
Commitment to child rights
Sheikha Haya stressed that Mr. Annan has stood at the helm as global demands for UN services have grown over the past decade – and that he has “set out a far-reaching reform framework to make the organization more relevant to the people of the world.”
In a General Assembly speech on the occasion of UNICEF’s 60th anniversary earlier this week, Mr. Annan himself noted the importance of working on behalf of the world’s youngest citizens. “UNICEF’s work to realize the rights of all children is at the heart of our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
He went on to thank UNICEF “for the wonderful partnership we have enjoyed,” adding: “I know you will keep going strong for many such milestones to come. I will no longer be Secretary-General, but I will always be your fan.”
UNICEF at 60: A brief look back, and ahead [with video]
UN News Centre: General Assembly swears in Ban and pays tribute to Annan
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