Happy New Year, everyone!  We wish you a happy and healthy year.  2011 is also a big year for the top man at the United Nations.

Ban Ki Moon’s first five year term concludes at the end of 2011. He is eligible for one more term.  While Ban’s appointment requires a vote of approval from both the 15 member Security Council and 198 member General Assembly, all he really has to do to secure re-appointment is stay in favor with the five permanent members of the Council. Any one of the P-5 for any reason (or no reason) can block his appointment. But would they? It is hard to tell this early, but throughout 2011 do watch for statements/signals/signs from the P-5 to see which way members are leaning.

In the meantime, Ban kicks off 2011 with a syndicated op-ed on the enduring value and utility of the UN.  It contains this nugget on how the UN and G-20 can productively work together.

Nevertheless, on climate change, poverty, and other issues, the conventional wisdom is that the UN should cede responsibility to the G-20.

But the G-20, by itself, is not the answer. Despite strenuous debate about currency issues and trade imbalances at its summit in Seoul in November, the sole area of agreement concerned an issue on the G-20’s agenda for the first time – economic development. Recognizing that global recovery depends on the emerging economies – that is, the developing world – G-20 leaders embraced investments aimed at lifting the world’s most vulnerable people out of poverty.

That is why G-20 leaders accept the need to work closely with the UN – after all, no organization does development better. The G-20 and the UN are finding new ways to work constructively together – not as rivals, but as increasingly close partners. And that is the way it should be.

Read the whole thing. And happy 2011!

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