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United Nations Candidates Compete for Secretary General Job in Debate – as it Happened


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By Our Reporter

This year’s open hustings, the first of its kind, continues in London as three of the candidates face questions about war, refugees, climate change and how to forge agreements between 193 nations.

And that’s a wrap. Thanks for tuning in. I hope it was informative.

From a personal perspective I felt that some quite nuanced positions emerged there. It’s a field of more than three candidates of course, but who knows: We might have been listening to an outlines of plans by the UN’s next secretary general.

Last question: Do you have hope for the future?

Luksic says he has faith in the massive proportion of the world’s population who are young people.

Jeremic says he is hopeful but that a substantial “facelift” is needed for our “common home” the UN.

Guterres says that working with refugees in the last 10 years has informed his views on this. When he sees the resilience and courage of families then it gives him courage. Cue applause.

Another question: Is the UN too big?

Luksic says that a panel of experts should be created to scrutinise the budget. He doesn’t agree with Guterres who says that the UN’s budget should be bigger.

Jeremic says that there has been a dramatic failure to reach out to to the private sector in terms of securing donations to the UN.

He would appoint a special envoy of high stature to oversee philanthropic giving. He won’t name names, but he has “couple of guys in mind who could do the job”. By guys, he adds, he means men and women.

There should be a new “compact” says Guterres, without necessarily supporting the court.

There’s applause however for Mark when he asks the candidates why the UN has a system where whistleblowers rather than perpetrators are punished?

The Danish ambassador to London has a question: How would you promote protection of human rights as a necessary condition for development and international peace?

Guterres says there are things can be done. The Secretary General has right to see the security council if it appears that major threats to human rights are looming or on the increase.

Massive human rights violations are usually an early warning system of a threat to peace and security, he adds and the UN needs to react to that.

Jeremic says that human rights would be front and centre of his time in the post.

As a young man he fought in the street for democracy and “risked his life”.

He proposes a 50 percent increase in funding for the office of the high commissioner for human rights.


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