General Assembly debate: states call for a more open and inclusive process

Last week's debate in the UN General Assembly shows that securing a better way to select the Secretary-General is a top concern for member states. Nearly all delegates - with the exception of Russia and the United States - called for a more open and inclusive process to replace the outdated and secretive procedure that currently blights the appointment of the UN's chief. At present, the Security Council puts forward just one name for the rest of the UN's membership to rubberstamp.

The 1 for 7 Billion campaign welcomes those statements and urges all states to work together to ensure that the best candidate is selected in a fair, transparent and inclusive process.

Several states called for: hearings with candidates; the Security Council to present more than one name to the Assembly; and a single, non-renewable term of office to reinforce the independence of the Secretary-General.

These proposals echo those of the 1 for 7 Billion campaign and of Kofi Annan, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani and other eminent leaders, who have added their voices to the growing movement for a better process.

The debate is a good start to ensuring such a process is agreed in time to select the next Secretary-General in 2016. She or he will have to tackle a growing list of global challenges, and make a reality of the major UN climate and sustainable development agendas due to be agreed this year.

The world desperately needs a highly-skilled and effective leader, with the integrity, tenacity and vision to navigate these challenges. It is time to ensure the appointment process is geared towards finding the best person for the job.