Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, brings to his post 37 years of service both in Government and on the global stage.

The urgency is all too clear: if current demographic and conflict trends—protracted complex conflicts with a high risk of relapse, forced displacement at a record scale, urbanized conflict, growing inequality—continue, the gap between needs and response will only grow worse.

On this anniversary and on every single day, we must use our power and influence to do what is right and what is necessary to uphold the Charter. While we cannot prevent earthquakes and tsunamis, we can do much to address the disasters that arise from human folly and short-sightedness. This is a time of test but far more one of tremendous opportunity. As the distinctions between the national and the international continue to fall away, we can and must use the lessons of 70 years to come together as a single human family and chart a course towards a safer and more sustainable future for all.

As we mark half a century of engagement and achievement, let us recall the words of the Group’s first ministerial meeting, in Algiers in 1967, which still ring true today: “In a world of increasing interdependence, peace, progress and freedom are common and indivisible.

The lines were drawn as the industrialized nations of the Group of Eight gathered in Heiligendamm, Germany on 6 June 2007. The forces mustered to fight global warming were divided into competing camps.

Message on International Day for Biological Diversity, 2010

The planet's species and habitats, and the goods and services they provide, form the basis of our wealth, our health and our well-being. Yet, despite repeated global commitments to protect this heritage, the variety of life on Earth continues to decline at an unprecedented rate. Biodiversity loss is moving ecological systems ever closer to a tipping point beyond which they will no longer be able to fulfil their vital functions.

The Petionville Golf Club sits upon a hillside overlooking Port au Prince and the sea. These days, its once-groomed fairways are home to nearly 50,000 people, among the 1.2 million displaced by the January 12 earthquake and crowded together in tents or tarpaulin lean-tos provided by the UN or international relief agencies.

Message on World Press Freedom Day, 2010

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But around the world, there are governments and those wielding power who find many ways to obstruct it.

Message on World Malaria Day, 2010
Two years ago, I called for malaria prevention and treatment programmes to be made universally available to at-risk populations by the end of 2010. This World Malaria Day brings much cause for satisfaction. In a very short time, the world has gone from simply trying to hold malaria at bay to the realistic goal of delivering effective and affordable care to all who need it. Furthermore, the scientific community has set a research agenda for developing the tools and strategies that will eventually eradicate malaria for good.

Message on International Day of Families, 2010

This year's commemoration of the International Day of Families focuses on the impact of migration on families around the world. Rising social and economic disparities create both pressures and incentives for people to leave their homes in search of better opportunities. Many migrate out of necessity due to poverty, unemployment, political or armed conflicts or violations of human rights.

Academic institutions have an invaluable role to play in strengthening the work of the United Nations. From research laboratories to seminar rooms, from lecture halls to informal gatherings in cafeterias, the search for innovative solutions to global challenges often begins on campus.