World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Election of the new UN Secretary General

16 October 2006

Letter to H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General-Elect United Nations, 16 October,

Dear Mr Secretary General-Elect,

We are delighted by the news of your election as Secretary General of the United
Nations and extend to you our warm congratulations.

The World Council of Churches has followed with deep interest the developments
at the United Nations since its inception, having itself come into being as
a fellowship of the Churches around the world in the year 1948, with similar
objectives of promoting international peace and security, fundamental human
rights, practice of tolerance and promotion of economic and social advancement
of all peoples.

You come into your new high office with a rich experience spread over a broad
spectrum of international concerns ranging from Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to the
reunification of the Korean Peninsula and its people. You bring to your office the
benefit of being an international diplomat as well as a renowned civil servant who
will pay equal attention to the needs of all member states of the United Nations,
be they big or small.

Sir, you take the mantle of your office at a most difficult moment in the life of
the United Nations Organization, and indeed, at a time of unprecedented complexity
in world affairs. The expectations of the role you will play are not only
high, but also contradictory. In these circumstances, we assure you of our prayers
and support.

One of the important tasks that face you is the reform of the United Nations.
This, no doubt will receive your urgent attention and action. The international
community has in recent times expressed its concern about the urgency of carrying
out these reforms.

Commenting on the need for reform of the United Nations, the statement of
the IX WCC Assembly at Porto Alegre in February 2006, called on all states to
ensure the ongoing participation of civil society organizations and faith communities
in the work of the UN, at local and international levels as a means of encouraging
transparency and accountability as well as means of availing itself of essential
expertise and information. The role of religions and religious organizations
in addressing issues of security, human rights, development and the growing interplay
between religion and politics should be particularly taken note of.

It would be an honour for me to extend to you in person our congratulations
and to exchange views about how the World Council of Churches and its more
than 340 member churches can assist and support you in your new responsibilities.

My colleagues in our Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
(CCIA) in New York will be in contact with your office early in the new-year to
consult with respect to such an opportunity, at the United Nations Headquarters,
or on the occasion of an early visit by you to Geneva.

May our Lord's blessings be with you as you prepare to assume your new responsibilities.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
General Secretary