"I solemnly swear…"

Ban Ki Moon’s swearing in on Thursday will be roughly the one-month mark since his arrival in New York to assume the post of UNSG. 

(Watch the ceremony here.) 

During this time, he has been meeting with UN officials and other key leaders on his priorities and on whom he will appoint to the several posts that will open up in the first month of his administration. This week, Ban noted that the three challenges facing him when he assumed office on 1 January 2007 are “reforming the UN secretariat, strengthening capacity to fulfill mandates and rebuilding trust among key players…”

His selections for the Deputy UNSG post and the “holy trinity” of Under UNSG posts – Peacekeeping, Political Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs – are expected to be announced between taking the oath of office Thursday and 1 January.  

The appointment of his Deputy would be one of the most important top management decisions for Ban Ki-moon. In a recent interview with London newspaper The Times, the new UN chief said he was leaning towards appointing a woman as his right hand but didn’t mention any possible candidates.  

One woman that has been mentioned is Anna Tibaijuka, head of the UN Habitat in Nairobi. Another suggested candidate is Maria Angela Holguin, former UN Ambassador from Columbia. 

Some diplomatic scuffle is occuring over nationals of which government will be asked to fill two of the top Under Secretary General posts. The U.S. is challenging France’s traditional hold on the USG for Peacekeeping post, and the United Kingdom and Nigeria appear locked in a battle for the post of USG for Political Affairs.

Regardless, Ban and his advisors are being particularly quiet about possible appointees, so any speculation is simply that.

The process for making appointments to these posts should attract due attention by governments as well, given their strategic importance within the UN system. Those wishing to follow efforts should check out the Top Appointments blog as well as the soon-to-be-launched successor to the UNSGselection.org project at UNelections.org.

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