GA Challenge Growing

Mark Turner with the Financial Times writes today on the challenge being posed to the Security Council – and particularly to the P5 members – on their virtual monopoly in the UNSG selection process.

“At a General Assembly meeting, disgruntled second-tier nations will ask why the 15-member Council – and in particular the US, China, France, Russia and Britain – should secretly control the most important decision the organisation faces this year.”

Turner points out that Canada, with its “non-paper,” is driving this discussion. Michael Kovrig with the Canadian Permanent Mission alerted UNSG.org readers yesterday to Canada’s scheduled statement to the GA today, formally outlining specific proposals for improving the selection process. The text of the statement will be available on the mission’s website, www.canada-un.org.

Turner notes several proposed reforms that would enhance GA involvement in the process, including briefings by candidates to regional groups, multiple Security Council nominees and the possibility of the GA sending the nomination back to the Security Council and requesting an alternative candidate. He cautions that, “[p]rivately, many diplomats fear that it may already be too late to introduce any real change this time round, and that genuine reform will need to wait until 2011.” But the concern over the closed nature of the process is gaining voice.

“Jan Eliasson, president of the UN General Assembly and the incoming Swedish foreign minister, told the FT there was a ‘strong sense’ that the General Assembly’s role should become ‘more meaningful and more substantial than in earlier elections… I find it in the interests of the UN, and the next secretary-general, [that he or she] be appointed with as much legitimacy as possible,’ he said.”

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