15 JANUARY 2011


As we enter a New Year we wish the UN success in reasserting its role and regaining its proper place on the world stage. Recent events in Cote d'Ivoire are an indication that there are many actors trying to take over that role, although the United Nations has the only comprehensive framework for international cooperation. Obviously the Secretary-General cannot do this alone. He needs the support of his staff, his greatest asset. Regardless of the support he may get from national or other quarters, he needs to be able to depend on the international civil servants to bolster his strength. While his staff more than ever needs to display loyalty, it is equally important that those immediately around him help inspire more enthusiasm and loyalty by the staff. One of the main problems may be that some high-visibility senior officials including some special envoys and special representatives are not showing the proper example and need to show, without any doubt, that the objectives of the Organization are their objectives, and not to give the impression that they have a private agenda. They need to serve as a vehicle to facilitate that loyalty rather than perhaps unintentionally creating obstacles. Equally important is that new and transient staff makes a special effort to avail themselves of the collective team spirit. That may help overcome frustration, even faded interest, of those who may have a lot of talent to offer if well harnessed. There is no doubt that the Secretary-General is dedicated to this daunting task in an ever-changing world and an overly-complex mechanism. It is all the more reason for special efforts to be made by all sides to ensure the rightful place of the United Nations on the world stage to achieve the objectives for which it was created.