Three days of informal briefings came to an end yesterday, after nine candidates for the position of the next United Nations Secretary-General answered all together some 800 questions from the UN membership and the public on how, if selected, they would lead the world body.
“We have established a new standard of transparency and inclusivity for the appointment process, but it has the potential also to influence the final outcome of the selection of the Secretary-General,” UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft told reporters at the conclusion of the unprecedented public dialogues.
Starting on Tuesday, each candidate was given a two-hour televised and webcast timeslot. Prior to opening up the floor for questions from UN delegates and civil society representatives as well as from the public through social media, candidates gave short oral presentations – their “vision statements” – addressing challenges and opportunities facing the UN and the next Secretary-General.
Below is a list of candidates in the order they appeared before the Assembly:
- ">Igor Luksic, current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro.
- ">Irina Bokova, current Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESC), nominated by Bulgaria.
- ">Antonio Guterres, most recently the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, nominated by Portugal.
- ">Danilo Türk, former President of Slovenia.
- ">Vesna Pusić, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia.
- ">Natalia Gherman, former first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova.
- ">Vuk Jeremic, President of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly and a former Foreign Minister of Serbia.
- ">Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and the current Administrator of the UN Development Programme.
- ">Srgjan Kerim, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and was the President of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
According to Mr. Lykketoft, almost every country was represented in the audience to ask questions during the dialogue. “My impression is – of course my experience is short – but during the months I’ve been here, we never had that frank and substantial discussion about the future of the United Nations as the one we got during these informal dialogues,” he said at the media stakeout.
“We’ve talked about the virtues, we’ve talked about the flaws of the UN, and the candidates have presented a lot of interesting views on how to do things ever better,” he added.
Mr. Lykketoft also told reporters that these past three days are just a part of the “process of transparency” and that he hopes they will help generate wider discussions about the selection of the UN chief.
With more candidates possibly joining the current nine, more informal briefing could be held in the coming week and months. Mr. Lykketoft noted that he was inspired by the interest the public has shown in this selection process, with more than 227,000 people from 209 different countries and territories having visited his website.