UN General Assembly Defines More Open Selection Process for Next Secretary-General
On September 11, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved new elements to make the selection of the UN Secretary-General more open and transparent. The resolution, adopted by consensus, defines specific mechanisms that will allow the 193 member states to access basic information about all candidates to replace Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and allows them the opportunity to meet and question the candidates.
According to the UN Charter, the Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The 15-member Council has essentially picked the UN top officer and handed their name to the General Assembly for its approval. By tradition as well, the job of Secretary-General has rotated among regions. Eastern European nations, including Russia, argue that they have never had a Secretary-General elected from their region, and believe that they should have a chance to do so in the coming selection process.
The approved resolution enhances the role of the General Assembly and stresses the need for “gender and geographical balance while meeting the highest possible requirements.” It also emphasizes that all candidates must be highly competitive and invites all countries to consider women. There are a number of women whose names have already come up as potential candidates for the post, including Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) UNESCO Director-General, Kristalina Georgieva (Bulgaria) European Union Commissioner, and Helen Clark (New Zealand) UNDP Administrator.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, from South Korea, will remain in office until December 31, 2016. His replacement should take office on January 1, 2017. The campaign is expected to intensify early next year.