A new process for selecting the UN Secretary-General by Stephen Browne

by Stephen Browne


28 April 2016:  The new selection procedure for the UN Secretary General shows that, after all, reforms of the United Nations are possible. In a series of guest articles for Der (europäische) Föderalist, representatives from politics, science and civil society answer the question: If you could change one thing about the functioning of the UN, what would it be? 

In his contribution to the series, FUNDS' co-Director Stephen Browne writes that the most important immediate UN reform concerns choosing the next UN Secretary General:  "Over 70 years of UN existence, there have been times and opportunities for beneficial change, orchestrated by reform-minded and visionary UN heads. A new opportunity is approaching with the appointment of the next SG who will have an early “honeymoon” period in 2017 to take action and promulgate changes to address the huge challenges facing the UN ... Whether the next incumbent seizes this opportunity will depend crucially on that person’s qualities. The most important immediate reform required, therefore, concerns the process of selecting the next SG, a responsibility of the Security Council."

While the process of selecting the next UNSG currently underway is more open and transparent than it has been in the past (including unprecedented public candidates debates organized by FUNDS and partners), Browne stresses that, "it remains to be seen whether they will be enough to guarantee a strictly meritocratic process leading to the selection of a high-calibre SG. That will also require a new spirit of boldness and originality among all governments in nominating candidates, and among the Permanent Five in influencing the selection."

Please visit the Der (europäische) Föderalist website to read the article in full, either in English or in German.


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