In his own words, the United Nations Secretary General captures the mood among citizens of the world regarding the role the world body should play in their lives. He has spoken of the need to reform the UN, into a body which is “effective, efficient, coherent and accountable”.
Four simple words that have stood between the world body and those it is meant to serve, denying it their - respect and confidence.
This makes Ban’s vision during his term of office important, in building the confidence that is needed in the UN system, to whom citizens of the world from all walks of life look up for reprieve for their different grievances; ranging from extreme poverty to the most devastating conflicts.
A new brand of the UN should inform Ban’s current diplomatic offensive in particular to Africa’s conflict zones, where none of the above set out points seem to have taken root. Put simply, the UN here is in a credibility crisis.
Ban is expected in the Great lakes Region later this week. For Ban representing the UN is no easy feat, especially if his brief involves, undoing the historical damage inflicted upon the people of the region over decades; while the UN helplessly watched, or became a willing accomplice.
No need to mention the Genocide against the Tutsi, 15 years ago, or the recent shameful history of the UN Peacekeeping Mission (MONUC) in the eastern DR Congo.
The same goes for the lackadaisical manner with which the International Community has handled cases to do with those who masterminded the 1994 Genocide. This is the deeper historical and local context that should inform the UN boss’s visit.
Not only is it envisioned that he will lay out a new strategy for moving forward, it is also hoped the world body will turn a new leaf, and proffer long lasting solutions to the benefit of the afflicted.
For that to happen there must be acceptance of past mistakes, and consensus building on the way forward. This is Ban’s second visit to the region since he took over the helm at the UN; the challenge he faces is in building a legacy that breaks from the past.