Miroslav Lajčák - live commentary from the General Assembly hearing

On 7 June 2016, newly declared candidates for the position of UN Secretary-General are taking part in informal dialogues at the General Assembly, as provided for by Resolution 69/321. The 1 for 7 Billion campaign welcomes this historic breakthrough and the additional transparency and scrutiny that comes with it.

Rather than offer a complete record, the following commentary picks up on statements pertinent to 1 for 7 Billion's campaign proposals, as well as the candidate's vision for the role of the Secretary-General. The commentary begins at the bottom of the screen.

Tuesday 7 June - live from the General Assembly in New York

13:14:  And with that, Lajčák wraps up his remarks! Check back at 3:00 pm for our commentary on Susana Malcorra's hearing.  

13:12: Modernizing peacekeeping operations depends on the budget, Lajčák notes, but he believes peacekeepers should be adequately equipped to fulfill their mandate.

13:09: On whether he believes in regional rotation, Lajčák says yes! His presence at the hearings today is proof of his belief in this system. 

13:07: Mediation is what I've been doing my whole life, Lajčák says. The SG should use his or her mandate to prevent conflict. 

13:02: Sierra Leone asks about regional rotation in SG selection: is there a system of regional rotation in place, and is this a credible way to select the next SG? 

1 for 7 Billion notes that regional rotation is not required by the Charter. We urge Member States to make merit their top concern when choosing a candidate to support. 

12:51: Lajčák will not speak to any specific reforms today, but does request "greater managerial flexibility". Currently, the SG does not have much power to move staff around, he says. 

12:49: On leadership in conflict prevention, Lajčák would like to see a "more robust" use of the SG's good offices function in the future. 

12:46: Liechtenstein notes Slovakia's support for the Code of Conduct, an initiative to promote timely Security Council action in cases of mass atrocities. How would Lajčák fulfill the role for the SG described in the Code? 

12:44: The US asks for details about UN reform: what would be Lajčák's priorities to make the UN more efficient and effective? 

12:42: Important question from France on the UN peacekeeping, and on the protection of civilians in conflict. 

12:39: Japan asks how Lajčák would exercise leadership as SG in preventing conflict, and notes that recent reports call on the next SG to oversee peacebuilding architecture reform. How would Lajčák act on these recommendations? 

12:38: The UK states that the greatest threat to the UN is irrelevance. How will Lajčák ensure its relevance as SG? 

12:36: We must not allow any discrimination against women, Lajčák says, whether in peacekeeping or elsewhere in the UN system. We must make sure women can use their special abilities and qualities. 

12:31: The PGA introduces three questions from civil society.  Great question from Sharon Bhagwan Rolls: what will you do to strengthen women’s human rights across the UN system? 

12:25: Women should be more involved post-conflict rehabilitation, Lajčák argues, as they have "special qualities" that make them skilled at this kind of work. He emphasizes that the UN needs good candidates to make this a reality. 

12:20: Lajčák: "If we want to see more women, we need to propose more women" for high level posts. On this point, he states that there seems to be a discrepancy between what States say they want and how they act. 

12:17: On civil society participation, Lajčák cites civil society's role in humanitarian action. "There must be a dialogue" between civil society and the UN, he says. 

12:16: Lajčák would talk to the Secretariat staff unions to identify and address management problems. 

12:14: Lajčák notes the problem of Security Council inaction in certain crises, and cites Article 99 of the UN Charter as outlining the SG's political role.

12:09: The Maldives raises the issue of senior appointments--clearly a top concern for many Member States!

For the Small Island Developing States, the Maldives asks which steps Lajčák would take to establish a timely, fair, selection process for top appointments, and how he would ensure better representation of SIDS in the Secretariat. 

12:06: Colombia for the Group of Friends in Favor of a Woman SG: How will you ensure women's participation, and how do you plan to balance the SG's managerial and political responsibilities? 

12:01: Canada asks Lajčák about his management approach, calling for a specific proposal or action he would take to promote "modern management" at the UN. 

Great question from Canada about the importance of civil society! How will Lajčák ensure that civil society can engage?

12:00: "I can only be the Secretary-General you want me to be," Lajčák explains, citing the limitations of the role.  

On a  single term, Lajčák says he is not here to set the rules--Member States will set the rules, he will play by them.

11:58: There must be "quick and clear" action every time there is a violation of ethics at the UN, Lajčák says, whether in peacekeeping or elsewhere in the UN system. 

11:56: Lajčák set up a public website and answered questions through weblink while High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is one example of his concern for transparency.  

11:51: Back to Lajčák! On Security Council reform, he emphasizes that it is up to Member States to decide whether or not to amend the UN Charter. 

On the question of how many DSGs he should appoint, Lajčák says, "As few as possible but as many as necessary." It depends on the UN's priorities. 

11:47: For the ACT group, Costa Rica cites Lajčák's vision statement, asks for three examples of how Lajčák would ensure accountability and transparency at all levels of the UN. 

Costa Rica also asks Lajčák for his views on the single term proposal!

1 for 7 Billion has called for the next SG to be appointed for a single term to enhance her or his independence. See our policy paper to learn more. 

11:44: As a member of the G4 group, Germany raises the issue of Security Council reform, asking for Lajčák's views. Should this be a priority for the next SG? 

In its national capacity, Germany raises an interesting question about senior appointments: How many Deputy-Secretaries-General does a successful SG need? 

11:41: Iceland notes the importance of effective global governance.  

11:38: Responding to the EU, Lajčák describes his experience as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

11:36: Every Member State should feel represented in the UN, Lajčák states, but does not address the issue of monopolies on key UN posts. 

11:31: Lajčák emphasizes his "impartiality," while also highlighting the importance of consulting with Member States. 

11:29: Responding to questions about gender balance, Lajčák notes that half of his cabinet ministers in Slovakia are women.  "Men are good at making wars, but women make peace," he proclaims.

For the sake of credibility, it is important to have gender balance in appointments. Member States should present their best women candidates to help resolve this. 

No word on how Lajčák would promote gender parity as Secretary-General. 

11:25: The European Union asks Lajčák about his professional qualifications to be Secretary-General, asking for examples from his previous work.  

Good to see a question about qualifications and merit! 

11:20: For the Non-Aligned Movement, Algeria echoes the G77's concerns. Given the pressures on the SG to appoint certain individuals, how will Lajčák maintain his independence as SG?

NAM also asks about the SG's relationship to the Security Council in general. How will Lajčák relate to the permanent five members of the Security Council as SG? 

11:17: Thailand takes the floor on behalf of the Group of 77, noting the lack of regional and gender balance in many appointments. Thailand highlights the issue of the "monopoly" some Member States have on senior posts. 

1 for 7 Billion believes that no job should be reserved for the nationals of a specific Member State. Read our new paper to learn more. 

11:16: "I would nominate a woman from the global south as Deputy Secretary-General," promises Lajčák.  

11:14: Lajčák turns to the SG's role as "chief administrative officer". The UN must be open to the media, and cooperate with civil society and business.  

11:11: Lajčák emphasizes the importance of conflict prevention, and calls for the next SG to play an important role in international peace and security. 

11:09: "The world today is no safer than it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago," Lajčák explains, but he believes wholeheartedly in the UN. The UN needs to find out how to "adjust the system" to make it work better.

11:06: Lajčák takes the stage, describing his approach to conflict resolution. He has learned to resolve disputes through "dialogue and compromise". 

11:04: The PGA encourages Member States to ask questions in a "short and focused" manner, to consider what other States have already asked, and to keep to time limits. 

He also encourages candidates to answer shortlisted civil society questions that are not included in the hearings in writing! We urge all candidates to engage fully with civil society.  

11:02: The second round of hearings are off to a great start, with remarks from the President of the General Assembly. He says that today's dialogues are "at the very core" of the efforts to make the selection process more transparent.

11:00:  Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia)