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Updated on 9 January 2017


Section 5:   Decisions to recommend appointments of Secretaries-General


Security Council tribute to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


On 14 December 2016, the Security Council convened a public meeting under the agenda item, “Tribute to the outgoing Secretary-General”.  At that meeting, the Security Council adopted by acclamation resolution 2324 (2016), by which it acknowledged the contributions of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and expressed the Council’s deep appreciation to him (S/PV.7836). 


This marks the third time that the Council has adopted a resolution in tribute to an outgoing Secretary-General.  As described on page 413 of the book, the original impetus for adopting such a resolution was the Council members’ awareness in 1996 that having not re-elected Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “this was the first time that an incumbent Secretary-General had not been given a second term”.  It was in this context that at the same private meeting at which the Council members adopted a resolution recommending the appointment of Kofi Annan, they also adopted by acclamation an additional resolution in tribute to Boutros-Ghali (resolution 1091 (1996), S/PV.3725).


The second time that the Council adopted a resolution in tribute to an outgoing Secretary-General occurred in 2006.  As described in the book on page 415, the Council President for December (Qatar) proposed that the Council adopt a resolution with respect to Secretary-General Annan similar to that which had been adopted at the close of Boutros-Ghali’s term.  On 22 December, a public meeting was convened under the agenda item “Tribute to the outgoing Secretary-General”, at which the Council adopted by acclamation a resolution co-sponsored by all fifteen members. The text of resolution 1733 (2006) expressing the Council’s appreciation to Annan was substantially the same as that which had been adopted in tribute to Boutros-Ghali ten years previously.  It is thought that the reason for this was that although Annan was generally in better standing with the majority of Council members than Boutros-Ghali had been, the members felt that it would not be fitting for this difference to be reflected through a resolution containing higher praise for Annan.


At the 22 December 2006 meeting, in addition to the adoption of the resolution, the President made a statement on behalf of the Council in which he expressed the members’ appreciation “for the high professional and personal qualities and moral leadership that you brought to the United Nations as the world’s top diplomat”.  The President also expressed the members’ deep gratitude for Annan’s “active and efficient support to the work of the Council and the efforts you expended to further its objectives”.  In his response, Annan traced the generally positive trends he had witnessed in the work of the Security Council over his ten years in office (S/PV.5607).


The Security Council’s 14 December 2016 tribute to Ban Ki-moon followed closely on the precedents created by the Council in 2006.  Resolution 2324 (2016) also was adopted by acclamation at a public meeting, convened under the same agenda item, and the resolution was again co-sponsored by all 15 Council members.  After the adoption, as had been the case in 2006, the Council President made a statement on behalf of the Council members, after which Ban Ki-moon took the floor.


Resolution 2324 (2016) is virtually the same in content as the resolutions adopted in tribute to Boutros-Ghali and Annan, with one exception:  Added to the list of areas with respect to which the Council acknowledges the outgoing Secretary-General’s contributions is the “environmental” field.  This reflects what the Council President, in his statement, referred to as Ban Ki-moon’s “remarkable success” with respect to the achievement of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


Addressing the Council, Ban Ki-moon notably stated


“I would like to conclude by emphasizing that the Council is strongest when it is united.  Some

striking examples of that include the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of

Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, formed to achieve the destruction of chemical

weapons in Syria, and the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency

Response to fight the epidemic in West Africa.  But where unity is lacking, such as on the question

of Western Sahara, the consequences can be profound, and in the case of South Sudan, even catastrophic.  However, my deepest regret as I leave office is the continuing nightmare in Syria.  

I once again plead with all the members of the Council to cooperate and fulfil their collective responsibility to protect Syrian civilians.”


(This update supplements pages 413 and 415 of the book.)



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