On December 31, 2016, Ban Ki Moon will end his term as UN Secretary General. As the UN General Assembly begins vetting candidates to replace him in the coming months, it has a historic opportunity to elect the first female Secretary General.
Position Description and Application Process
The UN General Secretary is the UN’s main decision-maker and top authority. Since 1945, elected officials from around the globe have served 5-year terms as Secretary General. He or she is responsible for setting decision-making agendas, acting as the official UN spokesperson, overseeing annual reports, and advising the UN Security Council.
The UN General Assembly and Security Council are responsible for selecting the Secretary General. Candidates submit letters and vision statements to both bodies announcing their desire for candidacy. Both bodies invite the candidates to closed-door discussions about their qualifications and agendas. The Security Council then sends a short-list of recommendation to the General Assembly, which must then elect a candidate by a two-thirds majority.
A Female Secretary General?
The current election could be historic in two ways. First, the overwhelming majority of the 11 current candidates are from Eastern Europe, the only region of the world that has not produced a Secretary General. Second, both UN bodies released declarations encouraging women to seek candidacy. Five of the 11 candidates are women.
There are several highly qualified candidates. Bulgaria’s Irina Bokovo, Moldova’s Natalia Gherman, and Slovenia’s Danilo Turk are just a few of the several well-respected and experienced officials seeking the office.
The future Secretary General faces many challenges such as UN peacekeeper sexual assault scandals, Paris climate agreements implementation efforts, and the worldwide refugee crises. The General Assembly has the ultimate responsibility to elect the candidate who can best tackle these issues in the next five years.
Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:
- List of UN Secretary General Candidates
- Will the next UN Secretary be a woman? Salima Yacoubi Soussane, The Guardian
- Bulgaria: UN Candidate Property Wealth Raises Questions, OCCRP
- UN Secretary-General Selection Process Goes Public Amid Peacekeeping, Corruption Scandals, Lydia Tomkiw, IBTimes.