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Posted on on January 27th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

The United Nations and Korean Leadership

What are the prospects for United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s second term?
How will Korea exercise its two-year term on the UN Security Council?
And what of the new Global Green Fund, founded within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be based in Korea’s Songdo/Incheon?

Michèle Griffin of UN Policy Planning,
ROK Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Shin Dong-ik,
and UNSG Climate Change Support Team’s Frank Schroeder
address each of these areas in this special seasonal kick-off Studio Korea session.

The United Nations and Korean Leadership


Michèle Griffin
Policy Planning Unit Director, United Nations

Frank Schroeder
Senior Advisor, Climate Change Support Team, Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ambassador Shin Dong-ik
ROK Deputy Permanent Representative, United Nations

Moderated by Dr. Stephen Noerper
Senior Vice President, The Korea Society


We learned the following:


(1) Sustainable Development and Climate Change. . . . This Because We Are Increasingly Aware of the Limits For the Global Natural Resources.

(2) More Preventively Minded. . . .  This by Building Up the Resilience of the Fragile Countries i.e. Natural Disasters and Conflicts – like Mali and Somalia. Think Long Term and Push Politicians.

(3) The Peace and Security Agenda. . . . Mali, Syria, DPRK. We Must Do More for the Cases we Failed to Prevent. The UN is just One of Many Actors
i.e. The African Union.

(4) Transitions towards Democracy at Large. Democracy Like the Start of the Arab Spring. Economy Like in Myanmar.

(5) Promoting The Participation of Women and Promoting the Opposition to Violence Against Women. Bring in the Voice of Young People.


Michele Griffin, of UN Policy Planing in the Secretariat, stressed that Korea brings in something of a MIDDLE POWER. It is not one of the BRICS but it is well ahead of Developing Countries.

In this context it is important to realize that the World is changing and shifting away from the Western Countries to some of the Middle Powers, and we need to have a greater number of such actors. These Middle Powers can start thinking now of the UN as their UN, said Michele Griffin.

She added that Migration, Climate Change, are problems that were brought up by the West, and in order to tackle them the West needs the Middle Powers on-board. We figure on our Website that besides Korea, to this group belong now Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico.


Ambassador Shin Dong-ik, Deputy Permanent Representative of Korea to the UN reminded us that Korea will chair the UN Security Council during the month of February 2013, and will have in its turn a second month of chairmanship later on.

He also reminded us that the Republic of Korea joined the UN only in 1991 – that was when both Koreas were accepted in one agreed upon move.

He stressed that his country does not want to be held hostage to this sort of balanced steps involving North Korea. Korea is one of 5 members of the Council that signed the Syrian document. This means Korea wants to go global and it includes an aspiration for nuclear disarmament.

At the UN Security Council – most of the agenda – over 70% – involves Africa.

He repeated that Sustainable Development and UN Women are issues very close to the UNSG and to the Republic of Korea as well. Korea was for Human Rights in Myanmar and for Women Rights.


Frank Schroeder of the Climate Change support team in the UN Secretariat, addressed the topic of Green Climate Fund established recently in Inchon, and intent in mobilizing $100 Billion by 2020 to be used in creating the momentum on Climate Change. It is not fully operationalized yet. When Korea became host to the plenary, by consensus, Korea’s argument was that CC is not only a challenge, but also rather an opportunity to create growth.
Korea has become a key player on technology. Incheon is a very special place – a city of the future – wired for advanced technologies.

Korea was a bridge between the Developed & Developing World. The Fund’s Board will have ti create a business model and decide on the role of the private sector.


On January 22nd 2013, the UN Secretary General addressed the General Assembly – spoke about the achievements in 2012 and his hopes for 2013.
He mentioned the eight priorities the UNGA has set for the UN: Sustainable Development, Peace and Security, Human Rights, Humanitarian Assistance, Disarmament, Justice, the Develpment of Africa, Drug Control, Crime Prevention, and Combating Terrorism.

He followed up by saying that his hope is that “we can stop moving from crisis to crisis, from symptom to sympton, and instead address the underlying causes and inter-relationships, and recognize the flaws in many of our approaches.” He called on removal of the “Tyranny of the Status Quo” that constitutes “the brake on our common progress.”

The UNSG declared the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development as an important step forward. That was followed by the December meeting in Doha that he said put climate change negotiations back on track. We wonder about that but hope that he can hold to his promise to engage world leaders individually and collectively next year to mobilize political will for a robust, global and legally binding climate change instrument by 2015.

With the UNSG and President Obama singing from the same page on the issue of Climate Change, we thus hope that finally something can be achieved in the future, though we are skeptical about saying that much has been achieved to-date.

Following a track on the post-2015 development agenda, and a new phase in the MDGs with SDGs becoming the new actualization of efforts for progress, constitutes already a program that has promise. The Open Working Group tasked January 22nd by the UNGA, with advancing action towards implementing a Rio+20 recommendation to develop a set of sustainable development goals, is the first UN move since the June 2012 Rio Conference in the direction of “THE FUTURE WE WANT.”

Above agenda and a list of SDGs could then be the input to the Panel of Eminent People established by the Rio+20 review that looks at the creation of a new UN structure to take the place of the Commission for Sustainable Development – the outgoing UN CSD – and as we feel – the way to a recommendation for implementation of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) concept for true sustainability. It would be a pity if all that intense work by the Brazilian diplomats in 2012, in the run-up to the Rio meeting, will be allowed to go to waste.

About the Speakers at The Korea Society:

Michèle Griffin is acting Director of the Policy and Planning Unit and Chief of the Policy Committee Secretariat in the Secretary-General’s office (EOSG) at the United Nations. In this capacity, she supports the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General in taking key policy decisions through the Policy Committee (PC), which is the UN equivalent of a cabinet. The Committee considers thematic, country-specific and emerging issues requiring strategic guidance and policy decisions.

Prior to serving in EOSG, Ms. Griffin served for ten years in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), where she advised the Under-Secretary-General on cross-cutting policy matters. From 2005-8, she set up and ran the Mediation Support Unit in DPA, launching a ground-breaking Standby Team of Mediation Experts and supporting mediators and Special Envoys engaged in peace processes in Central African Republic; Darfur; Equatorial Guinea/Gabon; Iraq; Kenya; Myanmar; Northern Uganda; the Sahel region; Somalia; the Maldives; and Western Sahara. Prior to joining DPA in early 2001, she worked for several years with the nascent Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery in UNDP.

Throughout her years at the UN, Ms. Griffin has played a role in several key UN reform initiatives, including the decisions resulting from the 2005 World Summit, the 2000 Brahimi report on peacekeeping and the development of UNDP policy and practice on crisis prevention and recovery. She also served for several years as an adjunct Professor at Columbia University, where she taught courses on peacebuilding and the work of the UN Security Council, and has published and lectured widely on UN matters over the years. She is married with two children.

Frank Schroeder is a Senior Advisor in climate change and sustainable development matters at the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General in New York. Previously, Mr. Schroeder has worked for UN DESA, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Center for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA) at the New School for Social Research in New York.

He is author of numerous international briefing papers with a particular focus on climate finance and policy options for creating incentives to value long-term sustainable development objectives in investment and financial transactions.

Ambassador Shin Dong-ik has served in a variety of capacities dealing with multilateral and UN related affairs since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1981. He has assumed political, economic and consular posts in Seattle (1986-1989), Kuala Lumpur (1992-1995) and Geneva (2001-2003). He also served as Research Associate at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London from 1996 to 1997. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Minister-Counsellor at the Korean Mission to the United Nations in New York, and from 2008 to 2010, he was the Director-General for International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as an Advisor at the United Nations Foundation in New York. Ambassador Shin began his post as Deputy Permanent Representative in February 2011.

Ambassador Shin holds two Master of Arts degrees in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania (1985) and Yonsei University (1983). He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Yonsei University (1981).

He has written several articles during his diplomatic career that have appeared in various publications such as Survival (UK), Pacific Review (UK), Diplomacy (ROK) and Foreign Policy (ROK).

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