UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will end his 10-year term in December 2016. The campaign for the next UN Secretary-General has begun, and this campaign will be like none other before.
It’s quite possible that a woman will become UN Secretary-General for the first time in the history of the UN.
In the past, the Security Council made a nomination and it was rubber stamped by the UN General Assembly. Now, for the first time ever, the nomination process will be open to all member States of the United Nations. The change has come about thanks to pressure from UN General Assembly members and the 1 for 7 Billion campaign.
Mogens Lykketoft (President of the UN General Assembly) says that this new process ‘will give the general (UN) membership an increased, de facto power in selecting the Secretary-General.’ Lykketoft also notes that the new process will provide an opportunity for Member States to meet the candidates and ask questions about their position on UN priorities, such as the Sustainable Development Agenda, peace and security, and other issues.
UN announces new selection process for UN Secretary-General
On December 15, Lykketoft and Samantha Power (then President of the UN Security Council) sent a letter to all UN member States outlining the new process and encouraging member states to include women as well as men in their nominations.
Lykketoft also announced to UN media that much of the selection process will be open to media and public. “We are foreseeing open meetings with the membership of the United Nations, where you gentlemen and ladies of the press can follow the presentations and questions and answers to and from the candidates…that is my plan.”
Lykketoft said so far two candidates had been put forward for selection – former U.N. General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia and Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic – and that he will make public other nominations as they are received. The 1 for 7 billion campaign has identified another 25 prospective candidates, 11 of which are women.
Nuclear abolition and the candidates
The very first resolution of the UN called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. See Time to implement UN Resolution 1 (1). Ban Ki-moon, the current UN Secretary-General, has advanced a Five Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament and made nuclear disarmament a priority for his term.
Lykketoft is also very active on nuclear disarmament. He has been a leading member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and as President of the UN General Assembly, he has called on the nuclear armed Stares to commence a process for the controlled elimination of nuclear weapons. See UNFOLD ZERO interviews UN General Assembly President.
What are the positions of the prospective candidates?
Some of them have been strong leaders for nuclear disarmament. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, received the Nuclear Free Future Award in 2002 for her leadership in New Zealand’s landmark nuclear abolition legislation. Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, is a leader of the De-alerting Group – a coalition of countries campaigning for the nuclear-armed States to stand-down all nuclear forces, i.e. to end policies and readiness to use nuclear weapons within minutes. See Chile statement to the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
All of the candidates should be challenged to make nuclear disarmament a priority for their election campaign.
- Call on your government to ask the candidates for UN Secretary General what they would do to implement the goal of nuclear abolition.
UNFOLD ZERO will provide updates on the candidates and their positions on nuclear disarmament as these become known. Please contact us if you have relevant information.