Archive for March, 2006

Amb. Pickering on UNSG Selection

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Suzanne Dimaggio of the United Nations Association of the United States recently asked former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering for his thoughts on the selection of the next UNSG. Ambassador Pickering will be heading up a task force of UNA-USA on the selection process in the coming months. Interested visitors can download or stream a video of the interview on the UNA-USA’s website.

Ambassador Pickering, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN during the selection of Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was asked his views about the tradition of regional rotation, how the UNSG should be chosen, and what qualities he or she should possess. The next UNSG, the Ambassador suggested, must be

“…an extremely successful diplomatic manager, someone who understood the major issues, understood the organization, how to successful manage the organization, was capable of delegating, and had, in every sense, the stature, the personal qualities, the ability to make the rest of the world - the members states of the organization and the public at large - have confidence in him or her.”

To select the most qualified person for the post, Ambassador Pickering called for a stronger role for the General Assembly in suggesting qualified individuals to the Security Council or a formal search committee of “…very highly qualified members - perhaps former heads of states from all regions - who could put together a slate that they could agree with; that would be one input to the process.” He suggested that regionality was one criterion, but that others, including gender, should have as much importance in consideration.

“If you don’t begin with a rich mixture of excellent candidates, the end result is not likely to be the best person,” the Ambassador noted.

Asia secures African vote

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

The African Group of nations at the United Nations has formally expressed its support for the next UNSG to be an Asian. Though not unexpected, the formal announcement shores up the likelihood of the regional rotation system remaining in place, if only technically. The African and Asian regional groups command 107 votes in the UN General Assembly, more than the necessary majority to confirm an Asian in the top post should the Security Council nominate a candidate from the region.

With the announcement, the six Asian and African Security Council members can be expected to back an Asian nominee, with at least four other members supporting the nominee on the basis of geographic rotation. No permanent member, including the United States, has suggesting it would veto an candidate from Asian chosen on the basis of the tradition rotation, provided he or she also brings strong administrative and management skills to the table.

Praise for UNSG.org

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

“Canada hopes to stimulate an informed discussion on selecting the next UN Secretary-General. UNSG.org facilitates that by bringing aspects of this question forward in a knowledgeable and balanced way. It’s very helpful.”

Allan Rock
Ambassador of Canada
to the United Nations