I posted a couple of weeks ago about the UN swapping out Secretary General’s by the end of the year. Just found out about another website devoted to the mostly hidden race for the UN Secretary General seat at http://www.UNSGselection.org. It’s run by my old crew at the World Federalist Movement, an organization convinced that global democracy and the rule of law internationally is possible.
Similar in some ways to Tony Fleming’s “Who Will Be the Next Secretary General” blog, UNSGselection.org takes more of an NGO campaign approach, advocating for a more “democratic, transparent and effective selection process that ensures the appointment of the most qualified candidate.” Certainly not a radical call, but one that would buck nearly 60 years of tradition in how the Secretary General is appointed.
UNSGselection.org does a good job of describing the role of the UN Secretary General, the biographies of past holders of the position, and the selection process, and even compares it to other high level selection processes. However it lacks some of the interactivity of “Who Will Be the Next Secretary General” such as RSS feeds and commenting.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if WFM will be able to corral a strong civil society consensus around opening up the SG selection process. For many NGOs, the selection of the Secretary General is a process that just happens under the radar that we just have to live with. But perhaps if there was a loud enough public outcry, with the backing of a few influential middle-power governments (like Canada or Australia or Japan) we might see more transparency enter into the selection.
The US government has been stressing that the SG post is merely an administrative one, the top bureacrat of the UN. He keeps the wheels turning, he doesn’t make policy. Which is certainly true on paper.
But the reality is that the position has always been about more than just management of a particularly large bureaucracy. An able, smart and savvy Secretary General (i.e. Dag Hammarskjald, Kofi Annan) can make all the difference in a number of critical, life-saving situations. And a bad SG (Waldheim) can set the organization back a decade or more.
We deserve the best man or woman for the job. Not just the least offensive.