By Tiamiyu Arobani/New York
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon bade goodbye to staff and Permanent Representatives at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, being his last official working day as the UN scribe.
Ban, whose 10-year tenure comes to an end on Dec. 31, was full of appreciation for the opportunity to serve.
The outgoing two-term UN Scribe was also full of praise for the UN staff for their hard work and was thankful to those who had gathered to wish him well.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” the outgoing secretary-general, who assumed office on Jan. 1, 2007, said continuously, as he waved to his well-wishers, some of whom were close to tears.
“I thank all of you the staff and the delegations for your hard work and leadership for humanity.
“I have been motivated by this commitment and I am proud to call you my colleagues,” the two-term scribe, whose tenure has been described by many as “eventful”, said.
He re-emphasised that sustainable development, climate change, gender empowerment and youth, among other issues, had been at the top of his agenda in his 10-year tenure.
“It has been a privilege to serve the world’s people.
“And it has been an honour to serve with you and all our partners, including Member States, civil society, and many more,” he stressed.
The eighth UN scribe urged the enthusiastic gathering to “keep believing and working hard” to achieve the noble goals of the UN and to be a “voice for the voiceless”.
Ban’s last day in office will be the culmination of a decade of service at the helm of the UN, during which he sought to mobilise world leaders around a set of new global challenges, his office said.
“The challenges ranged from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water.
“In addition, he has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the 193-member global organisation itself.”
For his last day in office on Dec. 31, Ban would serve as a special guest on Saturday at the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, according to his office.
He would join New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to push the Waterford crystal button and lead the 60 seconds countdown to the New Year.
Approximately two million revelers are expected to fill the fabled Square, joined by over 198 million Americans and more than one billion television viewers worldwide.
The revelers would ring in the New Year watching the historic Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, according to the event organisers.
Ban began his first term as Secretary-General on Jan. 1, 2007, and was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly to a second term on June 21, 2011.
He will be succeeded on Jan. 1, 2017 by António Guterres, of Portugal, who was formally appointed by the UN General Assembly on Oct. 13, 2016.