2009 – a year when arctic ice was melting faster than ever before and multiple crises –food, energy, recession or pandemic flu – called for global cooperation on an unprecedented level. At the same time, peacekeepers served in missions around the world and the fight against hunger and poverty continued.
It was a year when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Gaza to witness firsthand the damage to the UN compound after it was bombed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and reminded the world that sexual violence against women there, and everywhere, was an abomination and had to be stopped. Despite multiple conflicts – in Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Somalia -there was hope that an old remnant of the Cold War would finally melt, when the Presidents of Russia and the USA expressed their strong desire in the Security Council to cut down their nuclear arsenals. At the same time nuclear ambitions by Iran and North Korea worried the world and caused sharp criticism by world leaders in the Security Council.
2009 will also be remembered as a year when the world finally was trying to reach a follow up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol to lower emission rates and stop global warming. In the Maldives, the cabinet met under water for a meeting – demonstrating the vulnerability of their small island state to sea level rise.