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27 April 2016
Statement from Our President on the Selection of the Next Secretary General

An Historic Step: Opening Up The Process of Selecting the Next Secretary General

This month, the United Nations has taken an historic step to open up the traditionally secretive process of selecting the Secretary General.

For the first time ever, the nine men and women nominated  for the position  appeared before the General Assembly  to answer questions and offer their vision for the future of the United Nations in a very different world from the one 71 years ago when the UN Charter was negotiated in San Francisco. The Charter offers little guidance as to the responsibilities of the Secretary General in this highly decentralized,  sprawling, multi-faceted institution that the United Nations has become, and the eight previous Secretary Generals have approached the job with different strengths, weaknesses and priorities.

Given the global nature of the challenges of the 21st century, the choice of Secretary General has never been more important—indeed, the very effectiveness of the United Nations is at stake. Thus, the introduction of a more transparent process could not be more timely. How will the nine – and likely more—candidates strengthen the UN’s capacity for maintaining peace and security, advancing human rights and facilitating sustainable development through the coordinated efforts of government, civil society and the private sector?  How will the Secretary General bring greater coherence and efficiency to the multiple funds, programs and agencies and ensure the recruitment, retention and promotion of the best talent, especially women? These are the issues that are being addressed in an open forum for all to see.

The United States  has supported  a more open process, and we urge Ambassador Power to work with the other members of the Security Council’s P-5 to respect the process and select the most qualified candidate, leaving secret deal making and geographical limitations behind.


Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret)
President, UNA-NCA