Skip to main content

Ban Ki-moon

Deputy Chair

Former UN Secretary-General and former South Korean Foreign Minister; championed the world’s vulnerable by putting Sustainable Development, climate change, and gender equality at the top of the UN agenda.
Meet the Elders Download Bio

"The Elders and the United Nations share the same values of justice, solidarity and a determination to fight for peace and human rights.”

Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General

"If it were not for the United Nations, the international community would not have been able to make significant gains on eradicating extreme poverty, promoting public health, and scaling-up access to education"


Sustainable Development champion

“At its essence, sustainability means ensuring prosperity and environmental protection without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."


UN Photo/Mark Garten
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Gender equality advocate

“The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential.”



Ban Ki-moon

Former UN Secretary-General and former South Korean Foreign Minister; championed the world’s vulnerable by putting Sustainable Development, climate change, and gender equality at the top of the UN agenda.
Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization 1999
Foreign Minister of South Korea 2004-2006
United Nations Secretary-General 2007-2016
Joined The Elders
Founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens
Appointed Deputy Chair of The Elders

Work with The Elders

Ban Ki-moon joined The Elders in June 2017, after completing his second term as UN Secretary-General in December 2016.


In October 2017, Ban Ki-moon attended the Elder’s Walk Together for Peace event in London, joining the Elders and young leaders in a symbolic walk through central London and in a panel debate at Church House.


Ban Ki-moon opened The Elders’ Walk Together for Health For All event at the Bellevue Hospital in New York in November 2017. Addressing a gathering of policymakers, healthcare professionals and civil society, he stated the case for Universal Health Coverage and its centrality to successfully achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


During the Elders’ visit to Paris in December 2017, Ban Ki-moon joined the delegation to meet President Emmanuel Macron for a discussion on global challenges, from climate change to conflicts across the Middle East. He then participated in the One Planet climate summit.


In April 2018, Ban Ki-moon joined a panel discussion at The Elders’ Walk Together to Fight Inequality event at the LSE. He was joined on stage by young leaders and activists in a discussion on pervasive gender inequality, where he reflected on his experience at the UN, in particular the creation of UN Women.


Sustainable Development and Gender Equality

Mr. Ban held office from January 2007 to December 2016. In 2011, he was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly for a second mandate.


His first major initiative as UN Secretary-General was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, which was followed by extensive diplomatic efforts to put the issue at the top of the global agenda. In 2009, Mr. Ban continued to stress his concerns for global warming at the World Climate Conference in Geneva, and in 2014, he joined demonstrators in the People's Climate March in New York City. He also called together world leaders for the 2014 UN Climate Summit, which served as a preparatory meeting for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.


Mr. Ban has also been a tenacious advocator for the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals. He generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, he successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other key steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.


Furthermore, he was the promoter for the creation of UN Women. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality led him to launch the "Unite to End Violence against Women" campaign, the "Stop Rape Now" initiative, the creation of a "Network of Men Leaders" and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, Mr. Ban has increased by 40% the number of women in senior management, reaching the highest level in the Organisation’s history.


Conflict and Peacebuilding


Mr. Ban strengthened UN peace efforts by promoting a series of steps aiming at improving the impact of the 120,000 United Nations "blue helmets" operating in the world’s conflict zones. He set up a mediation support unit, which, together with the Secretary-General’s good offices, helped to prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crisis. Particularly, he took steps to bring accountability for human rights violations through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the "responsibility to protect”.


He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilised UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East. Finally, Mr. Ban led efforts to revive the disarmament agenda and break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament, and urged renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.


UN Reform

Mr. Ban also introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonisation of business practices and conditions of service, adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

Keep up to date with The Elders’ COVID-19 digest:

Sign up to receive regular updates about The Elders’ activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will never share your email address with third parties.

Keep up to date with The Elders latest News and Insight:

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders. We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.


I would like to find: