Natalia Gherman - live commentary from the General Assembly hearing

From 12 - 14 April 2016, 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 a complete record, the following commentary picks up on statements pertinent to 1 for 7 Billion's campaign proposals.

Wednesday 13 April - live from the General Assembly in New York

15:00: Natalia Gherman (Moldova)

15:06: Natalia Gherman presents her vision statement - applauds transparent selection process. 

15:07: "I firmly believe that now is the time for implementation with the objective of leaving no one behind." 

15:07: Gherman emphasizes to her negotiation and consensus-building skills. 

15:08: "Prevention must stay at the core of all our activities - the Secretary-General must ensure that UN strengthens early warning and response." "Peacekeeping should be robust, agile and efficient." 

15:13: "We must learn how to communicate better to the people of the world... we must make the UN better known and better understood..."

15:17: Thailand begins the first round of questions, addressing: the Sustainable Development Agenda; equal and fair distribution (gender and geographical balance) for UN senior posts; financing the UN. 

15:19: Algeria/NAM: How will you ensure your independence as SG?  How would you avoid perpetuating a monopoly on senior posts for certain countries? Germany follows with a question on promoting gender balance in the UN.

15:23: Kuwait on behalf of the Arab Group: what is your vision in terms of implementing the reviews of peace operations and peacebuilding architecture at the UN? 

15:27: Gherman responds to questions on the Sustainable Development Agenda. The implementation of the SDGs would require a mindset change - an approach based on partnerships at the local/national/regional and global levels.  The SG's role would be to ensure the consolidation of partnerships is facilitated, approaching the Agenda as a whole.  Calls for a clear mechanism for data collection and monitoring. 

Engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders: private sector and civil society. 

15:31: Gherman emphasizes merit-based recruitment. "We do have an obligation to ensure that women are given the opportunities to contribute to the work of the UN... As SG, I would prioritize this." 

15:35: The SG "should be the general of the Secretariat and the secretary of the Member States." 

15:38: Gherman notes the importance of women's participation in peace processes and peacebuilding.

15:55: Saudi Arabia asks: What do you think the role of the SG should be with respect to interaction with the Security Council? 

16:05: Gherman: Peace operations should be robust, resilient and agile.  We should concentrate all efforts on protecting civilians.  Must educate and train all staff in human rights standards and the zero tolerance policy.

16:08: Gherman on regional organizations: The UN and regional organizations should draw on each other's comparative advantages.  Avoid fragmentation and duplication. 

16:13: Gherman will 'spare no effort to ensure a culture of transparency and accountability' at the UN.

16:21: On the next SG's interaction with the Security Council, Gherman sees the role of the SG as 'making sure that decisions taken in the Council are made in unity'. 

16:22: "We should be open to continuous reform of all UN bodies" - led by Member States, facilitated by the next SG.  "We must be purpose-oriented and results-driven."

16:23: Answering civil society questions on youth involvement, Gherman says, "we must ensure the representation of youth in all processes, at all levels." 

16:30: UK asks: How would you respond to a clear and flagrant breach of the UN Charter? 

16:32: France asks: In this changing landscape, how do you think the UN could strengthen its flexibility, adaptability and even its relevance? 

16:34: Indonesia: What is your view on disarmament issues? 

16:37: Israel asks - what are Gherman's thoughts on mission creep? 

16:41: Chile - What changes should be made in the UN's Peacebuilding Commission? 

16:42:  On peacekeeping, Gherman says, 'we must think about what we define as success or failure.'  Condemns abuses by peacekeeping troops and calls for prosecution of civilians involved.

Further, "we must be ready to deploy adequate force when the lives of civilians are under threat. We must orient ourselves toward rapid response and deployment." 

16:50: Gherman answers UK's question on the most difficult SDGs: Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions - "this requires a culture change to fight corruption and ensure the rule of law."  

16:53: On senior appointments, Gherman's emphasizes merit-basis and equitable gender and regional balance.  Encourages women to apply to senior level posts. 

'The SG would have to be a team player and team leader.' 

16:56: On terrorism, Gherman says looking into root causes is critical, as well as tackling financing of terrorism.

17:06: Gherman calls for awareness-raising on Sustainable Development Agenda - involving civil society and the private sector. 

17:07: On the future of the UN, Gherman says: "We must be better communicators.  Bring fresh ideas. Fit for purpose, but also better understood." 

"I stand ready to communicate on the successes of the UN." 

Media stakeout:

17:19: Gherman tells media she decided to run for UNSG because she "believes the values of the UN Charter remain valid today... The UN remains the best manifestation of the global community to act in a coordinated way..." "If the UN didn't exist, we would have had to invent it." "I am sure the next SG will have important tasks to reform the UN to make it stronger in order to deliver on the expectations of global citizens."

17:23:  Gherman is committed to engaging with civil society.  She will be participating in civil society meetings with candidates this evening. 

17:29: 'Integrity and accountability must be manifested by the Secretary-General'  "It takes a good SG to listen to and consult with the Member States."