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date: 20 November 2019

(p. v) Foreword: by the UN SECRETARY‐GENERAL

(p. v) Foreword


Much has been written over the past six decades about the United Nations and its work. Yet, since its establishment in 1945, there have been few comprehensive analyses of the structure and activities of the Organization as a whole. The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations fills a significant lacuna in scholarship.

Today's world of complex and global challenges is exactly the environment in which our United Nations thrives—because these are challenges that no country can resolve on its own. Whether we are speaking of peace and security, development, or human rights, demands on the Organization continue to grow. This Handbook offers a wide range of perspectives on the UN's work in those areas and brings alive the historical, legal, political, and administrative details of the Organization's multiple roles. It also explores how the international community can enhance the UN's capacity to fulfill its goals and foster global peace and progress.

These essays are diverse and strongly argued, and I may not agree with all of the views expressed in them. But they all share a deep conviction about the need for multilateral approaches to solving global problems, with the UN at the heart of the effort. I hope this Handbook will contribute to making our indispensable Organization better understood by experts, practitioners, and the public alike.

Ban Ki‐moon

New York,

February 2007