Strengthening democracy, modernisation top priority: Ban Ki-Moon

United Nations: Fresh into his second term as the head of UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said his priorities will lie in helping "marginalised and oppressed" people in their transition to democracy, encouraging gender empowerment besides ensuring modernisation of the world body.

Ban`s second five-year term as Secretary-General began on January 1. He said "people power" and deepening globalisation represented the biggest development since he first took office in 2007.

In reference to the Arab Spring movement across the Middle East and North Africa, Ban said it is a responsibility of the world body to help the people in their transition to democracy. "We have seen so many people – marginalised people, oppressed people- who have been yearning for democracy, their dignity and human rights – We have (a) heavy responsibility to help them in (their) transition to democracy," he said.

"With the deepening of globalisation, we have seen so many things happening in the world. There are many good ideas and many people really wanted to be connected… We have to help this transition to materialise as soon as possible. Being united depends on us," Ban said.

The 67-year-old UN chief spelt out the five "generational opportunities" he sees for the UN – promoting sustainable development, preventing natural and man-made crises and disasters, making the world safer and more secure, helping countries and peoples in transition and encouraging gender empowerment.

Ban also emphasised the need to keep modernising the UN in his second term to help the 193-member world body adapt to contemporary changes. "Technology outpaces our current thinking, peoples` ideas and our current way of working. We have to make our organisation more nimble, more efficient and effective, and transparent and accountable."