NEW YORK // The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday said he is seeking a second term as head of the world body, kick-starting what is expected to be a speedy process that sees the South Korean secure another five years in the job.
Mr Ban described himself as a "bridge-builder" and said that "finding common ground is central to delivering results". He pointed to UN success in tackling humanitarian disasters and pushing climate change up the global agenda.
"Looking back, these four and a half years have marked a period of extraordinary challenge," he told reporters at UN headquarters in Manhattan. "We can be proud of what we have accomplished together."
Envoys have said that Mr Ban, the eighth secretary general of the world body, faces no opponents in his bid to win a second term and officials quickly announced their support for the 66-year-old career diplomat.
France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, praised Mr Ban's "courage and determination in a period of crisis". China's ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong, said Mr Ban had successfully steered the world body "through stormy water".
Following Mr Ban's declaration, the UN Security Council must give its recommendation, with a resolution that needs at least nine positive votes and no veto by a permanent member — the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China.
The 192-member General Assembly would then elect Ban for a second term starting January 1, 2012, most likely by acclamation.
Mr Ban has won praise for advancing women's rights, prompting nuclear disarmament and for his vocal support of pro-democracy uprisings across the Arab world and UN-backed military interventions in Ivory Coast and Libya.
But South Korea's former foreign minister has also been criticised for poor leadership, his low-key style of closed-door diplomacy and failure to speak out against human-rights abuses in Russia and China, which can block his re-election.