Ban Ki-moon visits Norway

Ban Ki-moon and Jens Stoltenberg lay a wreath at the grave of the first UN secretary general, Trygve Lie. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister / Flickr.

Ban defends leadership on visit to Norway; climate also in focus

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday praised Norway’s political and financial support to the United Nations, but also defended his own leadership style after meeting cabinet members.

His visit was to focus on climate issues and included a visit to the Arctic region off northern Norway.

Ban was late Monday to fly to the Svalbard archipelago to “see the climatic changes to the Arctic and what it means for humankind.”

“I will take what I have learned to the high-level summit meeting I am going to convene in New York on September 22,” he told reporters after a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

At the New York summit, leaders from major emitting countries, big donors and the most vulnerable countries were to meet, Ban said.

The UN head said he aimed to give a ‘strong’ message about the need to secure a new global deal on climate change at a summit in Copenhagen in December.

Ban’s visit was preceded by the publication of a confidential report from a Norwegian UN diplomat voicing strong criticism of Ban’s leadership since he took over at the helm of the UN in 2007. Recent visits to Myanmar and Sri Lanka by Ban came under special criticism.

“Different circumstances may require different leadership style and different charisma,” Ban said. “I have my own charisma, I have my own leadership style.”

The former South Korean foreign minister said he had ‘laid out a very strong message’ to the Mynanmar military leaders.

Ban said that while “it doesn’t feel good to be criticized,” he was “always looking to improve my role and performance as secretary general, as a public servant of the international community.”

Ban underlined the need for international cooperation – not the least within the UN framework – to tackle challenges ranging from the global flu pandemic to climate change, containing the spread of nuclear weapons and dealing with the global economic crisis.

Stoltenberg said they had discussed the benefits of a global carbon tax on emissions which Oslo supports.

Such a tax, could “change the way economies work’ and provide a ‘source for financing,” Stoltenberg said.

Ban hailed Norway as one of a handful of countries that have achieved a UN goal of allocating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to foreign aid. He also praised its support to UN programmes.

Before flying to Svalbard, Ban was also to meet with King Harald and lay a wreath at the grave of the first UN secretary general, Trygve Lie.


Read more about the visit on: Regjeringen.noSee photos from the event on Flickr.

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