“Let me assure you that Ireland’s participation in EU military and civilian missions is fully compatible with its traditional support of the United Nations. This is not a zero-sum game in which more support for one institution means less for the other. We are in this together. There is no competition between the two. We share values and objectives and are on a welcome path of ever closer cooperation.” – United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Dublin, 7 July 2009.
As part of his state visit to Ireland, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, gave a major speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) on Sixty Years of UN Peacekeeping, a video of which is available on the IIEA website (www.iiea.com). In his speech, Mr. Ban described Ireland as a “bridge-builder” and an “inspiring example” at “the frontlines of disaster response”. The “shared narrative we must write in an era of global interdependence” formed a core aspect of Mr. Ban’s remarks. This was followed by an outline of the “broader context of peacekeeping” in the twenty first century. He identified new crises facing the global community: “food, fuel, flu, and financial”, as well as poverty and climate change. And he emphasised that a key aspect of this new global era is that these are all “coming at once”. He described this as leading to a “new horizons process” for UN peacekeeping and how the UN engages in this critical responsibility.
In order to face this challenges, the Secretary General said that the critical factor for success is the capacity of [the UN] to work with regional organisations such as the EU, which is one of the UN’s most important partners. With specific reference to Ireland, he noted “how carefully Ireland considers its overseas military deployments” and that “a UN mandate is one of the requirements not just as a matter of policy but as a matter of law”. He continued by saying: “Let me assure you that Ireland’s participation in EU military and civilian missions is fully compatible with its traditional support of the United Nations. This is not a zero-sum game in which more support for one institution means less for the other. We are in this together. There is no competition between the two. We share values and objectives and are on a welcome path of ever closer cooperation.”
He concluded with a call for Ireland to “keep the United Nations at the centre of [our] foreign policy” and with a reminder that Ireland is an “integral part” of the UN’s mission “to build a better world for all”. Mr. Ban Ki-moon was welcomed to Dublin Castle by Mr. Brendan Halligan, Chairman of the IIEA, and Ms. Jill Donoghue, Director General of the IIEA. The Institute of International and European Affairs is Ireland’s leading policy analysis think tank, which analyses international and EU policy developments of relevance to the business and policy community in Ireland. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with charitable status.
All photos taken courtesy of Stephen Boyle.