UNGA President-elect acknowledges widespread calls for reform

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has elected Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark as its next President.  Mr Lykketoft will take over from incumbent Sam Kutesa of Uganda to preside over the General Assembly’s 70th anniversary session, which begins in September.  Current President Kutesa has already expressed strong support for the aims of the 1 for 7 Billion campaign at a meeting on 1 May 2015.

During a media stakeout earlier this week, Mr Lykketoft noted the widespread interest among member states in improving the process to select the next UN Secretary-General.

Mr Lykketoft commented "I have heard a very strong wish from member states that [the appointment of the Secretary-General] could be a process where different candidates could be presented".

Recent UNGA debates have made it clear there is near universal demand for transforming the way in which the UN appoints its next Secretary-General.  Such demands from all regions of the world give the President of the General Assembly a clear mandate to act in support of opening up the secretive and opaque selection process.

Specific contributions that the President of the General Assembly could make include:

  • issuing a joint call with the President of the Security Council inviting nominations from member states, parliaments and civil society organisations of candidates that meet the necessary qualifications. The call should preferably come before the start of the UNGA’s 70th session and should set out a clear timetable for the selection process including a closing date for nominations;
  • publishing a list of all the official candidates and their CVs at the end of the nominations phase and keeping the UN membership and general public well informed regarding developments thereafter;
  • facilitating open hearings for all candidates enabling member states, civil society and the media to assess candidates and their visions.

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Photo: President of the UNGA Sam Kutesa (right) with President-elect Mogens Lykketoft, (c) UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe