Mr Antonio Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, says the late Kofi Annan was an embodiment of the UN, and has expressed profound sadness at the news of his passing.
“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” he said.
The UN Secretary-General, in a statement, said the celebrated diplomat was “a guiding force for good and a person he was proud to call, a good friend and mentor”, someone, he could always turn to “for counsel and wisdom”.
He had been honoured by the late Kofi Annan’s trust in selecting him to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership.
“He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom — and I know I was not alone.
He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world,” he added.
Mr Annan never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter and his legacy will remain an inspiration for all.
“My heartfelt condolences to Nane Annan, their beloved family, and all who mourn the loss of this proud son of Africa, who became a global champion for peace and all humanity”, Mr Guterres said.
Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 08 April 1938, and best known for his diplomatic career, having served as the seventh United Nations Secretary General, from January 1997 to December 2006, the first Secretary General to be elected from the ranks of the UN, where he had worked in various capacities since 1962.
During his two-term service as Secretary-General, one of Mr. Annan’s main priorities and accomplishment was reform of the UN aimed at revitalizing it and making the international system more effective.
He was an unrelenting advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the Organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
Through Mr. Annan’s initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel.
It was also at his urging that, in 2005, member states established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peace-building Commission and the Human Rights Council.
He also played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and the acceptance by Member States of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. His “Global Compact” initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.