South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon has been confirmed as the eighth Secretary General of the United Nations. Ban will take over from Kofi Annan on January 1st of next year. The General Assembly resolution was adopted by acclamation, so there are no vote tallies.
Hundreds of diplomats and U.N. staff in the chamber broke into loud applause when assembly president Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa asked the 192-nation world body to adopt the resolution by acclamation. She then banged the gavel and said, "It is so decided."
Ban will oversee an organization with 92,000 peacekeepers around the world and a $5 billion annual budget. The U.N.'s reputation has been tarnished by corruption scandals and its outdated practices need reform to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Annan hailed Ban as "a future secretary-general who is exceptionally attuned to the sensitivities of countries and constituencies in every continent" and said he would be "a man with a truly global mind at the helm of the world's only universal organization."
Annan recalled that the first U.N. secretary-general, Trygvie Lie, told his successor, Dag Hammarskjold, "You are about to take over the most impossible job on Earth."
Made even more so by the decade of hideous mismanagement that marked Annan's tenure. Ban will have to work very hard to clean that mess up.