This week, the 1 for 7 Billion campaign sent a letter to all UN member states, urging them to consider specific reforms to further improve the selection process before the next Secretary-General is appointed at the end of the year. The letter comes ahead of a thematic debate on the selection and appointment of the UN Secretary-General, to take place at the UN’s New York headquarters on 22 March.
Specifically, the letter encourages delegates to consider and recommend three critical proposals in their remarks:
- The appointment of the Secretary-General to a single, non-renewable term of more than five years;
- The recommendation of more than one candidate by the Security Council to the General Assembly for it to choose from; and
- An end to backroom deals in which candidates are pressured to promise key high level posts in the UN Secretariat to the nationals of certain “Permanent Five” countries in exchange for their support.
While the UN has made tremendous progress by implementing more transparent and inclusive procedures this year—such as sharing the names and qualifications of all official candidates, and holding open meetings with candidates in the General Assembly—more can be done to promote high-quality leadership in the UN’s top post. The 22 March debate will be an important opportunity for member states to “significantly enhance the independence, legitimacy, and effectiveness of the office of Secretary-General”.
Photo: Forty-Eighth Session of General Assembly. Copyright UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein