by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News, New York
NEW YORK– In less than a month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is leaving his post, after serving for a decade as the world’s top diplomat.
He will be replaced by Antonio Guterres – a former prime minster of Portugal, and UN High Commissioner for refugees.
The South Korean statesman was given a fitting send-off party at the the UN Ambassador’s Ball in New York City.
“I’m deeply honored by all what you said; very kind words of support and recognition of my role as secretary general for the last 10 years,” he said in a speech.
Ki-Moon is known for his strong views and advocacies on global warming.
“There were many skeptics [of climate change], but now everybody believes… it is approaching much, much faster,” he told the crowd.
A strong supporter in climate change is the 2016 UN Humanitarian Awardee, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
Tyler agrees that climate change and global warming are the first universal challenges affecting the entire human race.
“Think of all people living in coastal areas, like around North and South India, North and South America, Europe, Africa – all manmade landfills, gone,” Tyler said. “The Paris agreement is in effect, and we should all strive to underscore, move it to the forefront, and implement it now, less we all be truly living on the edge.”
Fil-Am organizers and attendees at the Ambassador’s Ball also praised Ki-Moon for his focus on human rights, and his dedication to hold some heads of state accountable for crimes against humanity.
“There are others that he has not been able to bring to court, basically because those who have violated human rights are still in power,” said Fil-Am community leader Loida Nicolas-Lewis. “It’s a difficult balance, and I just wish the new Secretary General from Portugal will be more successful.
Nicolas-Lewis says the years following, under the administration of newly-elect President Donald Trump, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, will be a challenge to the new secretary general.
She stresses that world leaders must first and foremost represent and protect human rights and dignity.
“That’s the most important pillar of the United Nations,” Nicolas-Lewis says.
Ban Ki-Moon has praised his successor, Antonio Guterres, as a wonderful choice to steer the United Nations.