Susana Malcorra - live commentary from the General Assembly hearing

On 7 June 2016, newly declared 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 offer a complete record, the following commentary picks up on statements pertinent to 1 for 7 Billion's campaign proposals, as well as the candidate's vision for the role of the Secretary-General. The commentary begins at the bottom of the screen.

Tuesday 7 June - live from the General Assembly in New York

17:56: And with that, the second round of informal dialogues comes to a close! Check back tomorrow for a summary of today's meetings.  

17:54: The PGA notes that this is the first time there is an official list of candidates. He is confident that the Security Council will make its recommendation from this list.

17:53: Great question from the press: How does the lack of transparency in the Security Council influence the process, especially when a more transparent process has been established in the Assembly? 

17:51: The PGA is asked whether he expects the Council to recommend multiple candidates to the Assembly. 

17:49: The PGA feels that he will be able to express the interests and desires of Member States for the post in his upcoming letter to the Security Council. He will not conduct a straw poll of Member States. 

17:48: The PGA states that the new, more transparent selection procedures are "here to stay". He notes that there is a strong wish from Member States for an independent and "courageous" SG. 

17:46: Malcorra wraps up her comments, and the PGA steps in.

17:44: On how her experience working with Ban Ki-Moon would influence her work as SG, Malcorra explains that she would do some things the same and some things differently. 

17:37: A reporter asks: what would Malcorra bring to the role of SG as a Latin American woman? Malcorra reiterates Latin America's respect for regional rotation, but notes that only one SG has come from her region.  

Now is the time for Member States to decide on candidates, she states. 

17:35: Malcorra criticizes Kompass’ decision to share a report on allegations of sexual abuse with the French government without redacting the names of the victims, arguing that this put them in danger.   

17:33: It is sad that Anders Kompass has quit his post at the UN, says Malcorra, but she is sure she had his reasons. 

She notes that Kompass was not the first to call for an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers. 

17:31: Malcorra is asked about two recent UN controversies: the indictment of former PGA John Ashe, and the treatment of whistleblower Anders Kompass. 

17:29: The first press question is about Malcorra's comments on her involvement in protests as a University student. Malcorra explains that this experience showed her how power can be used against people.  Echoing her earlier comments, she reiterates the importance of 'working with power' as well. 

17:24: Malcorra heads outside to answer questions from the press.    

17:17: Much of the responsibility to move the process forward now rests with the Security Council, the PGA explains. He expects the Council will keep the General Assembly fully briefed on developments, and notes that the process will return to the Assembly once the Council has made its recommendation. 

17:16: The PGA will not conduct a straw poll of candidates in the General Assembly.  However, the informal dialogues have "shined a light" on the candidates. 

17:14: Malcorra wraps up her remarks, and the PGA takes the floor.  "Any additional candidates should be presented as quickly as possible," he states. He calls on any remaining candidates to participate in informal dialogues; to do otherwise would be unfair. 

17:12: Malcorra expresses her respect for Ban Ki-Moon, as she was appointed by him as chef de cabinet. She also notes that she has learned a lot from Kofi Annan. 

17:08: At this time, Malcorra says she will not discuss the appointment of her senior management team: "That would start a conversation I'm not ready to have yet". 

17:05: Cameroon asks Malcorra about previous Secretaries-General. Is there one in particular who would be her role model? 

17:02: Great question from Ukraine about the Secretary-General's "good offices".  Would Malcorra revive this practice as SG, even in cases involving the great powers? 

17:00: South Africa asks whether Malcorra would consider appointing an African as Deputy-Secretary-General.  

16:55: On a single term, Malcorra says that seven years would be "fine". But it's up to Member States to decide, and so far, they have not agreed.  

16:53: The tension between the Secretariat and Member States is always there, says Malcorra. It's important to build trust between the Secretariat and Member States, and among Member States. 

16:46: In response to Mexico, Malcorra describes the budget as a juggling act. She suggests that prevention is important to reduce the resources needed for peacekeeping.  

16:44: Citing Malcorra's vision statement, the US asks how she would enforce the zero tolerance policy and ensure accountability for sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers. 

16:41: Excellent question from Costa Rica about the single term proposal! Of course, the decision is up to Member States, but what is Malcorra's view on the "appropriateness" of this change? 

16:37: What would you do in your first 100 days as SG? Morocco asks Malcorra. 

16:36: The UK asks Malcorra about her experience as chef de cabinet. What was her greatest frustration in that role? 

16:33: Mexico notes that 70% of the UN budget is spent on peacekeeping--only 30% on "everything else". 

16:29: The SG is not the President of the world, Malcorra states. But the SG can present things to Member States in the best possible way to help them come to decisions.  

16:28: Malcorra describes running away from police as a University student. But, she argues, while it's important to stand up to power, it's also important to be able to live with power. There must be balance between the two. 

16:23:  Now it’s civil society’s turn. One speaker asks when Malcorra has ‘spoken truth to power’ in defense of an oppressed group.  Another asks about the SG’s role vis-à-vis Member States. 

16:21: On why she wants to be SG, Malcorra explains that she believes that it is possible to make a difference in that role. She hopes to balance the roles of "Secretary" and "General".

16:18: In response to the Maldives, Malcorra reaffirms her support for regional diversity and gender balance. No comment on the "politicization" of the appointment of senior staff, or on monopolies over certain posts. 

16:13: Australia: How would you ensure internal coherence at the UN, and accountability within your senior management team? 

16:09: Another question about high-level appointments! The Maldives asks Malcorra about the "politicized" process of appointing senior officials. How would she ensure gender and geographic representation in these posts? 

16:06: Saint Vincent reads from an article describing the post of SG as a "poison chalice," as most former SGs are not held in high regard. React! 

16:03: Malcorra highlights the importance of communications, including in multiple languages. She states that this will be part of her action plan. 

15:57: In response to Colombia, Malcorra argues that the SG must take on both political and managerial functions. Effective management is critical to implementing policies. 

15:58: On her qualifications, Malcorra cites her experience in the private sector as well as her UN credentials.  

16:00: Everyone agrees on the need for Security Council reform, says Malcorra, but what is the reform everyone can agree to? The SG can help, advise, and support the process, but it is up to Member States to decide. 

15:51: Colombia notes that some describe a split between the SG and Deputy SG; the SG fulfills the political role while the DSG focuses on managerial concerns. 

15:49: For the ACT group, Estonia raises the issues of transparency and accountability at the UN.  What are the UN's shortcomings, in Malcorra's view? 

15:47: Finland asks Malcorra about communications at the UN: How would you use your "secular pulpit" as SG? 

15:45: India asks Malcorra for her views on Security Council reform.

15:40: Malcorra explains that Latin America respects regional rotation--but once other regions entered the SG race, Latin America felt it was only fair that they also make their case. 

15:38: The SG can approach Member States individually before resorting to Article 99 (the SG's power to bring issues to the attention of the Security Council), says Malcorra.  

15:36: "You claim that it's opaque," Malcorra says in response to NAM's concern about the appointment of senior officials.  She feels that this perception will disappear once better gender balance is achieved. 

While gender parity is essential, this ignores the practice in which certain posts are reserved for the nationals of powerful Member States.   Our new paper explains how these monopolies undermine merit-based appointments as well as gender balance in the Secretariat. 

15:34: Malcorra highlights the importance of gender balance, arguing that this has a major impact on the culture of an organization. 

15:30: Malcorra states that the SG requires leadership and drive to bring together both the UN system and Member States. 

15:23: Zambia raises the issue of regional rotation in the selection process.

While many believe that it is Eastern Europe's "turn" to be Secretary-General, we believe candidates should be assessed by their merit, not by their nationality. 

15:19: For NAM, Algeria asks Malcorra about the pressure Secretaries-General face to follow instructions from certain Member States. How will Malcorra maintain her independence? 

1 for 7 Billion argues that a single term of appointment would allow the next Secretary-General to act more independently, especially when making senior appointments. Find out more in our single term paper

15:17: Thailand notes the "monopoly" some States have on senior appointments, as well as the overall lack of gender and regional balance in the Secretariat. How would Malcorra address these issues as SG? 

15:14: Malcorra identifies "courage of conviction" as the primary trait that should be demonstrated by the next SG. 

15:13: Malcorra calls for a UN that reflects the world's diversity, both in terms of gender and regional balance. She is committed to gender parity at the top. 

15:11: It is the responsibility of the SG to foster flexibility and nimbleness at the UN, says Malcorra. She or he must exercise managerial oversight to make sure the organization lives up to the vision of Member States and the UN's mandate. 

15:07:  On the role of the SG, Malcorra states that "the Secretary-General must inculcate a culture of humility" at the UN.  

15:05: Malcorra thanks representatives of civil society for attending the session. The UN must work with international, regional, and local partners. 

15:03: The PGA calls the next informal dialogue to order. And we're off! 

15:00: Susana Malcorra (Argentina)