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Civil Societies to Participate in Choosing the Next UN Boss

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Kemi Busari

2016 is a significant year in the history of the world as it highlights several activities of global significance- the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, the fight against climate change and other environmental challenges and as well, more importantly, the race to choose a replacement to the current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The position of Secretary-General is one of great importance that requires the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

These characters have accounted for the success story of former Secretary Generals and in a bid to sustain this, the President of the UN General Assembly and the President of the UN Security Council have invited UN Member States to present candidates with proven leadership and managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations, and strong diplomatic, communication and multilingual skills.

The General Assembly in a statement said that it will, “without prejudice to the role of the principle organs as enshrined in Article 97 of the Charter, conduct informal dialogues or meetings with candidates for the position of Secretary-General, without any prejudice to any candidate who does not participate, thus contributing to the transparency and inclusivity of the process.”

To ensure wider participation in selection, the President of the General Assembly (PGA) is organizing informal dialogues between UN Member States and candidates for Secretary-General starting in April 2016.

The UN-NGLS will facilitate a process with civil society to provide questions that can be asked to candidates during these dialogues.

The questions can be submitted in writing, video or audio via Twitter, Instagram, or online at unngls.org/UNSGcandidates on or before 20th March 2016.

The UN-NGLS will constitute a civil society Committee to short-list 30 questions from those received, to submit to the PGA. Civil societies can also register to participate in the committee.

The Office of the PGA will choose some of the short-listed questions to be presented in person, shared via video or audio recordings, or verbally read-out by the President during the dialogues.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG) is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations.

The seat is currently occupied by Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who took office on 1st January 2007. His first term expired on 31 December 2011 and he was re-elected, unopposed, to a second term on 21st June 2011. His successor will be appointed by the General Assembly before the end of this year.

The UN have been served by 8 Secretary-Generals since inception.

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