Ban served two full terms as Secretary-General from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016, succeeding Kofi Annan who is the current Chair of The Elders.
During his time in office, Ban helped spearhead the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and worked intensively to secure the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015. He also successfully pressed for the creation of UN Women as part of his wider advocacy for equality for girls and women.
Prior to his election as UN Secretary-General, Ban served as South Korea’s foreign minister from 2004-2006 after three decades in the diplomatic service.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:
“I am delighted to welcome Ban to our group. As a new member of The Elders from East Asia, he will bring a unique and valuable perspective based on his record of global leadership and understanding of geopolitics. His commitment to peace, equality and development will be a huge asset to The Elders as we enter our second decade of work together.”
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former Prime Minister of Norway, added:
“Ban Ki-moon was a champion for climate action, sustainable development and gender equality throughout his time at the UN. I look forward to working with him now as an Elder, and to defend the multilateral system that is essential for delivering further progress.”
Ban Ki-moon said:
“It is an honour and a privilege to join this august group, whose work I have admired for many years. It is a particular pleasure to stand alongside my predecessor at the UN, Kofi Annan. The Elders and the United Nations share the same values of justice, solidarity and a determination to fight for peace and human rights. I eagerly await the task ahead in this new chapter of my career.”