PIPA’s latest global opinion poll is a bit of a downer on world leaders: it finds that in 20 nations around the world, “none of the national leaders on the world stage inspire wide confidence”. Still, while it’s obviously a source of some amusement that more publics trust Ahmadinejad than Bush, the real story for me here is that
Only UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon received largely positive ratings in a worldwide poll that asked respondents whether they trusted international leaders “to do the right thing regarding world affairs.”
It just goes to prove the point about the nature of the ‘global interregnum’ in which we find ourselves. As David and I observed in our memo to Gordon Brown on fixing the UK’s foreign policy (over a year ago now), the leadership of an awfully big range of countries and institutions changes hands between mid-06 and the end of 08; in such a context, it’s easy for leaders to emerge rapidly to the forefront of global statesmanship.
And for all that UN watchers sometimes carp, Ban Ki-moon has actually been terrific in starting to set out a joined-up narrative on scarcity issues (a point also now spotted by The Economist). He deserves real personal credit for driving the UN’s food prices agenda, including setting up its High Level Task Force; he’s been emphatic about the importance of getting to grips with water scarcity; and on climate change (his stated number one priority), he teed up the Bali outcome with his High Level Event in September last year, and then used his personal authority to drive the deal through later in the year. Go Ban.