UN Secretary-General Current Affairs
Former United Nations General Secretary and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan passed away in Bern, Switzerland. He was 80. He had served as seventh Secretary-General of UN for two terms reigning from 1997 till 2006. He was first black African to become Secretary-General of UN and also the first to be elected from UN staff itself.
About Kofi Annan
He was born on 8 April 1938 in Kumasi, Gold Coast (now Ghana). After completing his education, he had joined UN in 1962 as Budget officer for World Health Organization (WHO) in 1962. He went on to work in various capacities at UN, which included serving as Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping from 1992 to 96. Later he had served as UN Secretary-General for two terms reigning from 1997 till 2006 (He was succeeded by South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon in 2007).
As the Secretary-General, he had reformed the UN bureaucracy. He was passionate advocate of human rights and had played major role in the formation of two new intergovernmental bodies in 2005 within UN: Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council. He also had played pivotal role in creation of Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis during his term at UN.
In 1999, he had launched UN Global Compact initiative, which is now world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR). He was also founder and chairman of Kofi Annan Foundation and chairman of ‘The Elders’, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela. He was co-recipient of 2001 Nobel peace prize along with the United Nations. In September 2016, he was appointed to lead UN commission to investigate Rohingya crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine province.
Kofi Annan’s famous quotes
- “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family.”
- “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”
- “More countries have understood that women’s equality is a prerequisite for development.”
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has established first-of-its-kind panel on digital cooperation aimed at addressing concerns of cybersecurity threats and rise in hate speech. The high-level panel on digital cooperation will be co-chaired by US philanthropist Melinda Gates and China-based Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
The panel will have 20 members in total and include leaders from technology, public policy, science and academia etc. Senior Indian diplomat Amandeep Singh Gill along with former diplomat Jovan Kurbalija will be executive directors of panel’s secretariat. It will map trends in digital technologies, identify gaps and opportunities and outline proposals for strengthening international cooperation. It will focus on cyber-bullying, abuse rise, fake news, cyber crime and security aspects.
Digital technologies are expanding rapidly and are changing economies and societies at warp speed. At the same time, world is only beginning to address its dark side– such as cybersecurity threats, risks of cyberwarfare magnification of hate speech and violations of privacy. Global community is also facing uncertainness about security, equity, ethics, and human rights in digital age. Fake news, poisoning of data, electoral manipulation are concerns that have been highlighted by recent developments. So there is need to seize potential of technology while safeguarding against risks and unintended consequences.