Le charisme de Ban Ki-Moon semble plus intérieur qu’apparent. Mais tout s’apprend!
Je ne suis pas donc le seul à devoir faire des progrès en communication (cfr article qui suit 😉
C’est surtout la conclusion de l’analyse qui interpelle: il quittera sa fonction en 2016. Les Etats voudront-ils alors désigner un successeur qui fera réellement rayonner l’institution et vibrer la planète ?
Where Are You, Ban Ki-Moon?
By JONATHAN TEPPERMAN
Published: September 24, 2013
Of all the recent twists in the Syria saga, one of the most unexpected has been the sudden return to relevance of the United Nations, now holding its General Assembly in New York, and its otherwise invisible secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.
Since he came into office six-and-a-half years ago, Ban has remained remarkably anonymous, despite occupying one of the world’s most high-profile jobs. This obscurity is especially striking in contrast to his predecessor, Kofi Annan, who was charismatic, dashing and often in the news, and earlier office-holders like Dag Hammarskjold, who helped define the job in the 1950s. And it’s earned the South Korean diplomat withering criticism: He’s been called among the worst secretaries general in U.N. history, a “powerless observer” and a “nowhere man”; Foreign Policy magazine even called for his resignation in 2010.
The U.N. under Ban’s stewardship has managed to get some things right: (generally) providing effective relief to refugees, (generally) doing a decent job on peacekeeping, and avoiding the corruption and mismanagement scandals that tarnished the last years of Annan’s tenure. But on Syria — the critical issue of the moment — Ban’s record has been thin.
Although he has occasionally denounced the atrocities, and in mid-September even accused Bashar al-Assad of crimes against humanity (albeit only because he thought he wasn’t being recorded), Ban and the United Nations have been totally ineffectual in stopping the carnage, as he himself recently acknowledged. He failed to speak out early and loudly against the atrocities and he waited a year into the fighting before appointing a special representative. (Never mind that that representative — Annan himself — ended up quitting in frustration and that his replacement has also accomplished little.)
What makes Ban’s passivity especially damning is that it fits into a long pattern of underachievement. Although reputed to be modest, hard-working and personable in small groups, Ban is a clumsy communicator. Uncomfortable in English, he relies on notes when speaking and struggles to convey intellectual heft or moral drama. He’s never managed to capture the public imagination; one former high-level U.N. official who spoke to me off the record said Ban “somehow just never comes through,” adding: “You can write him a script and he’ll read it, but even when he meets privately with senior heads of government, they come away disappointed by his lack of engagement.”
Making virtue of necessity, Ban has tried to cast himself as a doer, not a talker, but he’s largely failed on that front, too. Early in his tenure, he established climate change as his signature issue, but after the spectacular flameout of his 2009 global summit in Copenhagen he has made little headway. On internal reform, another pet project, he has pushed through some new codes of conduct for U.N. employees, but has acquiesced as U.N. watchdogs have been driven from office.
Ban has also been accused of sitting on his hands during the endgame of Sri Lanka’s vicious civil war in 2009 when, according to Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, “instead of alerting the world to the unfolding slaughter, the U.N., all the way up the chain of command, allowed the Sri Lankan government to bully it into silence.” And Ban has obstinately refused to take responsibility for a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed some 8,000 locals and has been linked to the presence of U.N. peacekeepers. In February, he even invoked diplomatic immunity to avoid paying victims compensation.
Add it all up and you’re left with a far from glorious record. But while Ban has been a letdown on many fronts, it’s worth asking whether anyone else could have done better — at least on Syria. That question is important because the answer highlights deeper problems in the U.N. and how it’s structured. The fact is that when the great powers squabble, there’s little that anyone in the organization can accomplish, be they competent or not.
Consider: The secretary general’s job, as it’s set up, is one of the toughest on the planet. Designated by the U.N. Charter as the body’s chief administrative officer, the secretary general gets the stature of a world leader but no army of his own to command (the blue helmets don’t count, since, among other things, he cannot order them into battle). He is also, by design, a creature of the U.N.’s member states, especially the five permanent members of the Security Council, at whose pleasure he serves. Thus, explains Suzanne Nossel, a former deputy to Washington’s U.N. ambassador for management and reform, “when you have a standoff between the major veto-wielding players” — like Russia versus the United States on whether to give teeth to the new deal on Syria’s chemical weapons — “the role of the secretary general is highly constrained.”
Even critics like Stephen Schlesinger, a former U.N. employee and author of a book on the institution, concede that while Ban should have made more progress on the many issues the great powers agree on or don’t care about, when it comes to Syria “you could have put Dag or Kofi in the same situation and it’s hard to imagine” they would have produced more results.
Hammarskjold and Annan might have spoken out more forcefully. But secretaries general who publicly cross their patrons don’t last long — as Boutros Boutros-Ghali learned when he was denied a second term in 1996 after criticizing the Clinton administration for caring more about bloodshed in the Balkans than in Africa.
One last point to remember when counting Ban’s faults: None of them should come as a surprise, for fecklessness is precisely what got him hired in the first place. The big powers, tired of locking horns with Annan, wanted someone bland and pliable to replace him, and the colorless South Korean fit the bill; Ban seemed, in the words of the author James Traub, “the cure for Annan’s dangerous charisma.”
Ban has certainly provided that cure. But the fault lies as much with those who chose him as with the man himself. That’s something critics should keep in mind now and the next time the post comes open, in 2016. If the U.N.’s member states really want more effective leadership, they should hire someone actually able to provide it — and then get out of the way when he or she tries.
Quoi de plus convaincant que l’entrepreneuriat social ?
En quête de « return émotionnel »?
Besoin d’inspiration pour une rentrée pluvieuse: alors en voici, à la suite d’une rencontre, ce midi, avec Mark Cheng, Directeur Ashoka UK et fondateur de Chelwood Capital.
1) Rappel rapide sur l’entrepreneuriat social ?
Ma définition préférée est la suivante, par le prof. F. Santos (Insead):
« A key difference between commercial entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship is that social entrepreneurs are driven primarily by a motivation to create value for society, not only to appropriate value for themselves ».
2) C’est donc comme la philanthropie, la RSE ou les investissements éthiques ?
Si l’on veut, mais en mieux ;))
Michael Porter, prof. à Harvard, en définit les contours et le potentiel: “(…) The solution lies in the principle of shared value, which involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking. (…) This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also reshape capitalism and its relationship to society.” (Michael Porter, Harvard on « Creating shared value »)
3) Globalisation et économie sociale
Bill Drayton (fondateur d’Ashoka) décrit ainsi un des programmes d’Ashoka: “Great business ideas go global to serve customers around the world. By contrast, no such market forces are at work in the social sector. Social innovation too often remains local or national. Although many of the ideas and the entrepreneurs behind them have the potential for global spread, the social sector still lacks a process that focuses specifically on the global scope of change and the resources and mechanisms necessary for globalizing an idea success fully.”
Soutenons donc l’innovation sociale, pour que les meilleures idées qui en émergent se propagent rapidement à travers la planète!
4) Y a-t-il un réel potentiel ?
Michel Barnier, Commissaire européen, en disait récemment: « Social business is one of the pockets of untapped potential in our Single Market. (…) Social business is a good example of an approach to business that is both responsible and contributes to growth and jobs.”
5) Pour revenir à Mark Cheng
Ses débuts? Ce fut notamment une rencontre avec David Green, fondateur d’Aurolab, qui produisait et vendait des lentilles optiques en Inde à 4 USD, pour les gens « Bottom of the pyramid » (= « pauvres »), alors que le prix du marché était de 120 USD.
Il créa ensuite un fond à impact social sociétal, qui réunit 3 mio de livres de dons et 12 mio de prêts : une combinaison rare et précieuse de philanthropie + d’ investissements « impact » !
La rencontre à Londres avec F. Rahman, fondateur de « fair finance », fut le dernier élément déclencheur.
6) Ma conclusion ?
J’ai particulièrement aimé deux remarques faites par des intervenants au cours de ce lunch :
– « Emotional return » : que recherchent les investisseurs qui font de la finance sociale ? C’est simple : en plus du return financier, en plus du return environnemental ou social, ils recherchent un « return émotionnel ». Quoi de plus vrai ?
– « Need for alternative financing » : nos Etats européens sont endettés et font face à des problèmes démographiques de vieillissement, parmi d’autres. Qui les financera demain ? Peut-être la finance sociale… Un exemple concret : les obligations à impact social ! Deux projets pilotes de telles obligations sont actuellement menés en Belgique!
7) Encore besoin d’inspiration? Comment contribuer à l’émergence d’idées positives ?
Extraits d’une interview de F. Oldenburg (Ashoka Europe) :
a) Leaders should think about everyone they interact with as being co-creators instead of clients or beneficiaries.
b) Empower other organizations with whom you work to be changemakers.
c) Open-sourcing-harness the collective brainpower of your community.
d) Hybrid Value Chains: if you combine elements of a value chain that are social with those that are business and public, you can harness real change for social good.
e) Instill empowering traits in your employees: The four traits you will need to succeed in the next century are teamwork, empathy, leadership, and change-making (the ability to make change).”