Ban Ki-moon served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2016. He joined The Elders in 2017 and has been the group’s Deputy Chair since November 2018.
Prior to the UN he served as South Korea’s Foreign Minister (2004-06) and as a diplomat in his country’s foreign service.
Mr. Ban held office as UN Secretary-General from January 2007 to December 2016, having been unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly for a second mandate. During his tenure he placed the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, and equality for girls and women at the top of the UN agenda.
His first major UN initiative was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, and he continued to undertake extensive diplomatic efforts to put the issue at the top of the global agenda, culminating in the success of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at COP 21 in Paris, in December 2015.
Mr. Ban was also a tenacious advocate for the Millennium Development Goals, which had been initiated by his predecessor as Secretary-General, the late Kofi Annan. He generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, he successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other key steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.
Alongside the Paris Agreement, Mr. Ban also oversaw the negotiations over and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals – the successors to the MDGs – at the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
As Secretary-General, he promoted the creation of UN Women. His advocacy for women’s
rights and gender equality led him to launch the “United to End Violence Against Women” campaign, the “Stop Rape Now” initiative, the creation of a “Network of Men Leaders” and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Mr. Ban strengthened UN peace efforts by promoting a series of steps aiming at improving the impact of the 120,000 “blue helmets” operating in the world’s conflict zones.
He set up a mediation support unit, which, together with the Secretary-General’s good offices, helped to prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crisis.
He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010). Finally, Mr. Ban lead efforts to
revive the nuclear disarmament agenda and break the deadlock at the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
As a member of The Elders, Ban Ki-moon has held high-level talks with President Macron of France on climate and global security issues; discussed the future of multilateralism, climate action and sustainable development with President Xi of China; visited India to promote Universal Health Coverage and learn from the “Mohalla Clinics” in Delhi; addressed the UN Security Council on conflict resolution; and called publicly for dialogue, restraint and responsible leadership to ease nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula.