Kofi Annan Legacy after Stepping Down

The only thing Kofi Annan will be remembered by is his being the first black African to be the Secretary General of the United Nations and to have two terms without causing a rift among Security Council members for his second term. The period in which he served was rife with events that were more spectacular than any other time for decades. His ten years as Secretary General of the United Nations witnessed a new world order emerging after the events of 9/11 and the subsequent situation in Iraq and Afghanistan which are still dominating international diplomacy.

In his speeches he has sounded as the champion of human causes, especially those concerning poverty. But the UN as an organisation has had many shortcomings with other precedent General Secretaries. Many resolutions were passed without finding their way to implementation. The UN is practically dominated by the Security Council whose permanent members bear responsibility for many current situations in the world through their vetoes or conspiracy of silence. So his speeches were just an echo in a void land.

In most cases, Kofi Annan, as it was the case with any other UN Secretary General, should be seen as having served like a ceremonial president in a republic or a constitutional monarch. The only difference he has with them is that he can be outspoken, contrary to a constitutional monarch who refrains from making comments or stating national policies.

Kofi’s successor will inherit an organisation only whose members can decide the status of any Secretary General of the United Nations through the consensus they can reach in relations to one another regionally, continentally and worldwide. A divided world will make him just good at speeches and ceremonial activities without having an effective machinery to impose resolutions resolutely and swiftly.

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