What is the job description for the world’s top civil servant? Well it has only one item and that is to solve its messiest problems. The new UN Secretary-General, who has always been a male so far, is to be chosen in 2016. For the first time in its history, it seems that the selection process could be slightly modified. The New York Times recently published an article which reflects on the upcoming race for the top UN job, listing the reasons why the SG selection procedure could be different this time:
A coalition of nongovernmental organizations, called http://www.1for7billion.org/, with the support of numerous former United Nations diplomats, is calling for a formal application process with transparent selection criteria, a shortlist of contenders, and a chance for all member nations to participate in the process of selection. These actions reflect a growing frustration of the member nations with the dominance of the five permanent members of the security council which proved to have too much influence over the selection of the top person of the organization. The secrecy of the selection of the Sec-Gen (private meetings and negotiations of the P-5) had only been adding the fuel to the fire recently.
In a letter that was sent to the heads of all 193 members this week, the coalition stated that the current selection process “falls far short of modern recruitment practices for high-level international appointments, as well as of the U.N.’s own standards and ideals,” and that “a more open and inclusive selection process engaging all U.N. Member States will also help to revitalize the U.N. and enhance its global authority.”
Will this campaign be successful? No one knows! The coalition is putting a large stress on social media, using it as the main tool for gaining attention. The Big Five can still veto all the decisions that that do not comply with their interests which they have been doing successfully for years now.
The current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, will finish his second term at end of 2016. His successor will be starting in 2017. There is no set timeline for when the appointment will be announced.
If you are interested in the current state of the UN system and the role of the Secretary-General, read an interview with Richard Gowan:Do We Really Want A Reformed United Nations?