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A New Agenda

Rebuilding trust in the UN

By Tiffany Chaparro | May , 2007

kids in darfur
Chadian children look on during the visit of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. Guterres visited a refugee camp south of the Darfur town of Al-Geneina, Sudan. (Photo: Nasser Nasser/AP Images)

May 2007 

At Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s swearing-in ceremony, he pledged to “do everything in [his] power to ensure that our United Nations can live up to its name, and be truly united, so that we can live up to the hopes that so many people around the world place in this institution.”

Now months into his new position, Secretary-General Ban has begun to lay the foundation for his agenda. At the top of his list is rebuilding trust in the UN.

“I'm a man on the mission and my mission could be dubbed ‘Operation Restore Trust.’ Trust in the organization and trust between member states and the Secretariat,” Secretary Ban said at his inauguration.

The UN has faced some hard times, especially during the "oil for food" program in Iraq in 2004. The program's goal was to allow Iraq to sell oil in exchange for food, medicine, and other aid. This aid would be used for everyday Iraqi citizens. Unfortunately, some of the money raised may have been used to fund terrorism and pay off UN workers.

Looking Forward

Secretary-General Ban is now working on ways to help people in Darfur and Iraq.

Darfur is part of Sudan, a country located in Africa. The conflict in Darfur first began in 2003. Rebels from minority tribes took arms (guns) against the government, in an attempt to make the government share natural resources. The Janjaweed, a group of citizens trained by the government to fight, responded with violence against members of those tribes.

According to UN estimates, 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since the conflict began. The UN wants to send in forces as soon as possible to help the people in the western Sudan, but is hopeful for a political solution.

"We are moving closer to the moment of truth, mainly when . . . the parties have to start seriously to prepare for negotiations," African Union special envoy Salim Ahmed Salim told reporters.

The UN is also working hard to help people in Iraq. After a series of bombs there, Secretary-General Ban asked Iraqi leaders to help protect the civilians and to have "a dialogue between all Iraqi communities.''

Ban has also sent UN political chief Ibrahim Gambari to the region. Gambari is his special adviser for the International Compact for Iraq. The compact is a five-year plan to get the Iraqi government on its feet.

About the Author

Tiffany Chaparro is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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