Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Monday that he has taken on the UN leadership with dedication to meeting the world's "considerable expectations."

Speaking for the first time to the Security Council, Secretary General Ban said there are many crises erupting globally, including theviolence in Darfur and the Middle East.

"Allow me to assure all of you of my deep sense of mission, duty and dedication as I assume this high office," Ban said at a morning Security Council meeting.

"You know perhaps better than anyone that I do so at a daunting time in world affairs."

He said he is ready to work to defend human rights and respond to threats to global peace and security.

"I look forward to working closely with the Security Council to ensure that the organization lives up to the considerable expectations the international community places on us," Ban said.

Checking off thecouncils' recent additions — Panama, Italy, Indonesia, Belgium and South Africa — he said, "We have much to learn together."

Ban, who formerly served as South Korea's foreign minister,took over from Kofi Annan on Jan. 1, following the UN's holiday break.

Ban is the eighth secretary general of the UN.