11 November 2014

New campaign wants a better UN Secretary General

Who will replace this guy in 2016?
The time is now to end the backroom deals that produce the Secretary General of the UN, says a group of NGOs and the UN association of the UK. The coalition launched a new campaign, called 1 for 7 Billion, with an open letter addressed to UN member states to reform the selection process.

The term for current UN SG Ban ki-Moon comes to an end in 2016. With more than a year until the next election, now is the time to initiate reform, says the letter.
The importance and complexity of the office has changed radically during the last 69 years, as have the threats and challenges to the entire UN system. The leadership of successive UN Secretaries-General – as chief administrative officers, diplomats, mediators, and representatives of the UN purposes and principles –has been fundamental in shaping the work of the United Nations. They have provided a critical public international voice on key issues of peace and security, development, and human rights.
Signatories include leaders from Amnesty International, CIVICUS, and the World Federation of UN Associations. They say that the last time reform efforts targeted the UN it was too late, hence the present launch of the campaign. They outline their reform recommendations in a press release:

  • A process that aims to produce the best possible candidate
  • Formal selection criteria that reflect best practice in equality and diversity
  • Greater transparency, including a clear timetable and official shortlist
  • Open sessions that enable all states, and other stakeholders, to interact with nominees and have input in the process
  • Candidates to submit vision statements and to undertake not to make promises on specific appointments prior to their confirmation
  • More than one candidate to be put forward by the Security Council
  • A single term of office to help the Secretary-General pursue longer-term aims without the disruption of re-election campaigning
The basic ideas set forward seem pretty reasonable. Will the campaign succeed in initiating reform ahead of the next SG elections?

Also see the Guardian's report on the campaign.