The Secretary-General is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesman for the interests of the people of the world, especially the poor and vulnerable. As the “chief administrative officer”, he or she performs additional functions as entrusted by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs. Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, took office on 1, January 2007.
During the end-of-year News Conference at the UN headquarters in New York, The Secretary-General devoted the first part of his opening statement to Syria, where over 100,000 people have been killed and 8 million driven from their homes. He also discussed achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015 which means accelerating efforts, especially on lagging goals like sanitation and maternal health. The Millennium Development Goals consist of eight target goals set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to slash poverty and hunger, reduce maternal and infant mortality and diseases and ensure universal access to health care and education. Finally, Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to follow the example of the late South African President Nelson Mandela in making 2014 the year of “protecting people”. The Secretary General went on to add “I can think of nothing I would rather see in 2014 than for world leaders to emulate his example in upholding their moral and political responsibilities,”, This year will be remembered as the year in which the world bid farewell to the man who became South Africa’s first post-apartheid and democratically elected president.