April 21, 2021

Farewell to Ban Ki-moon

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By Tony best From Nation News

NOT LONG AFTER he became the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon headed to Barbados with his family.

About seven years later, he was back in the country, attending the Caricom heads of government conference where crucial economic and social issues affecting the region were being considered.

Ban’s immediate predecessor Kofi Annan, the highly respected Ghanaian diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner, had also made a special trip to Barbados during his tenure, declaring at one stage that the country had gained an international reputation for “punching above its weight”.

So it was reasonable to expect that as Ban was taking a final curtain before leaving office at the end of this month that the Caribbean in general and Barbados in particular would join in bidding farewell to a secretary-general whose signature landmark achievement is a global pact on climate change negotiated in Paris by 190-plus member-states. If fully implemented it could set people around the world on course for prolonged life, a boost in economic and social growth and for future prosperity

 The occasion was the presentation of a Caricom citation to Ban, hailing him for his contribution to “sustainable development” and global peace and security. The award was made by the region’s top diplomats at the world body and the function was held at The Bahamas Mission.

Barbados’ Ambassador Tony Marshall introduced Ban to the special gathering.

“When the history of the United Nations during the period 2007-2016 is written the foot- prints and fingerprints of our distinguished honoree will be found indelibly etched among the outstanding achievements of the United Nations, especially climate change, gender equality and the recognition that a special care and consideration must be given to Small Island Developing States, SIDS,” said Marshall.

The Barbados Ambassador pointed out that Ban was among the few UN leaders to have visited the Caribbean – Haiti, Jamaica and Barbados, twice. He praised him for showing a “genuine love for Caricom.” Just as important, Marshall said he was a firm a “believer in Caribbean talent” and showed it by appointing many regional nationals to key posts.

Among them was Selwin Hart, Barbados’ new Ambassador in Washington who served as director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change support team in New York, who went on to help negotiate the global pact. Another Bajan in the SG’s administration was Liz Thompson, a former Minister of the Environment who was made an Assistant Secretary General by Ban, a former Foreign Minister of South Korea.

In their citation, the Caricom Caucus of Ambassadors hailed Ban for “effectively championing the global effort to create, finance and implement” a programme of “transformative sustainable development.”

In response, Ban said people from the Caribbean were helpful to him as he pursued a global agenda and cited Hart as an example of the talented experts who worked well alongside him to help make the world a better place.

Hart described Ban as a “mentor” who gave him an opportunity to function at some of the highest levels at the UN.

“I consider him to be a friend of the Caribbean and a wonderful person with whom to work,” said Hart.

Thompson said any review of Ban’s tenure “would show that he had achieved a great deal and among his signal achievements were dealing with issues of financing for development, getting a global agreement on climate change and placing sustainable development and “the green” economy on the world agenda.

Interestingly, Marshall had an additional perspective on Ban: “I understand that he also has a passion for Caribbean rum and in particular rum from the birthplace of rum, Barbados.”

Tony Best is the NATION’s North American Correspondent.

For more on this story go to: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/91519/tony-farewell-ban-ki-moon#sthash.VVp5s1Ab.dpuf

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