1 for 7 Billion welcomes the first discussion in the Security Council on the process to select the next Secretary-General on 22 July, under the Presidency of New Zealand. Several Security Council members had made initial statements in a public "wrap-up session‟ on 30 June, organised by Malaysia.
There was no immediate outcome to these initial discussions, but participants in the debate recognised the need for transparency in the selection process, that the General Assembly had an interest and role to play in meeting candidates, and that this was the opening of further discussions. The meeting was closed, but the representatives of New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation spoke to the press afterwards.
1 for 7 Billion, the global campaign of over 150 NGOs working for an open and inclusive selection process, is encouraged that several members of the Security Council spoke up in favour of a transparent and inclusive process involving all member states. Positive references were made to the proposals put forward in a letter to the Security Council by the 27–member Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) group, including for a joint letter by the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly to start the process by inviting candidacies with a clear timeline for nominations. Hearings with candidates in the General Assembly, timelines and the publication of lists of candidates and their CVs were among the issues discussed.
The global campaign also welcomes the continued commitment expressed by the United Kingdom, a permanent member of the Security Council, to clear timelines and increased interaction with candidates in open discussions. Also positive is Spain's intention, as President of the Security Council in October, to organise a debate on Council working methods, which would include the process to select the Secretary-General.
The UN Charter provides that “the Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” A large majority of governments in the Security Council and General Assembly have advocated for reform of the recommendation and appointment procedures for the 2016 Secretary-General selection process. The Russian Federation, United States and China have been strongly advocating for continuing the procedures used since 1946, in which the Security Council recommends one name to the General Assembly for appointment after months of secret meetings on the selection. These three permanent and veto-holding members have expressed strong disagreement with proposals to improve, update and formalise the nomination and appointment procedures.
1 for 7 Billion urges the Security Council to continue discussions on improving the selection procedure, while the current debate in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly on the issue continues. The proposals made by the ACT group and the Non-Aligned Movement are an excellent basis for considering further steps.
In particular, the Security Council should now work with the President of the General Assembly to issue a joint letter inviting candidates – and especially encouraging female candidates – to apply, with a clear timeline for the selection process including a closing date for nominations, and identifying key qualities required by the position. 1 for 7 Billion calls on interested Council
members to show leadership and make concrete proposals in writing to make this happen.
The Council should also encourage open hearings with candidates and Member States and the publication of lists of candidates and their CVs. Based on the General Assembly decisions, the Council could discuss the options of a single term of office, proposing more than one candidate to the General Assembly and ending the practice of extracting promises from candidates on senior-level appointments in exchange for support.
1 for 7 Billion urges all member states, especially those in the ACT group and the Non Aligned Movement, that have shown leadership on the selection issue, to press these proposals for a better process by taking a strong stance in the current negotiations in the Ad Hoc Working Group of the General Assembly, if necessary, by calling for a vote.