United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, visited the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to address OAS Member States and OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza. During his address, he referred to the OAS as “the world’s oldest regional organization” and stressed its importance in the hemisphere as 22 U.N. member states are from the Americas.
In the global context, Secretary Ban Ki-Moon talked about the recent nuclear tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the situation in Syria, in which over 60,000 people have been brutally killed; the Middle East, in which we must continue to work for peace between Israelis and Palestinians; “sustained and systemic crisis” across the Sahel region, Mali; and drug trafficking worldwide for which he said that “The United Nations is committed to working to combat these global challenges.”
Additionally, he placed special attention on the concept of the “complementarity” of the priorities of the UN and OAS, for which he maintained he has identified five areas that need cooperative action in order to make a difference, which are: (1) Sustainable Development, (2) Preventive diplomacy, (3) Supporting nations in transition, (4) Building a more secure world, (5) Empowering women and young people. He argued that this list aligns with the OAS-UN four pillars: democracy, development, security, and human rights.
Secretary Ban Ki-Moon argued that development was important, he praised the progress made in the Americas in reducing poverty, thus pointing out some “structural problems” and the high degree of inequality. Moreover, he stressed the need for solutions to climate change, and summoned the support of the region. He ended his address with saying that it is “crucial to leading us all to a better world of dignity, opportunity, prosperity and social justice.”