Goals of Campaign: Principles of High-level Selections

Throughout the United Nations system, elections and appointments to positions of great international importance are decided away from the election hall.  Almost all UN experts and observers agree that far too often, selections are based on political favors, trades, and promises, even antiquated political fiefdoms.  Too rarely are elections and selections based on published job descriptions and qualifications, high-level search processes, or competitive elections. Thus, the UN’s processes fall unacceptably short of existing international public sector appointment procedures established to ensure qualified leadership in positions of global importance.

Individual Appointments

Based on consultations with non-governmental organizations and civil society groups worldwide, the UNelections.org campaign is encouraging the United Nations to incorporate the following procedures to enhance the transparency, accountability and inclusiveness necessary for the selection of qualified and effective individual candidates.

  1. Formal candidate qualifications
  2. Official timetable and systematic reporting
  3. Procedures for identification and assessment of candidates
  4. Gender and geographic diversity considerations

These procedures reflect crucial yet realistic reforms based on current practices of other international organizations in their high-level appointment procedures.  In fact, many governments in the General Assembly and Security Council have themselves issued calls to enhance the accountability and quality of the UN’s management and leadership. 

UNelections.org will also highlight the UN’s and other international organizations’ most responsible selection processes and promote their application as “best practices” throughout the intergovernmental system.

Elections of Member States to UN Bodies

Regarding elections for members of key intergovernmental councils and committees (including the Human Rights Council and the Security Council), the UNelections.org campaign is working to promote competitive elections based on states’ actual records, contributions, pledges and positions on relevant issues.  The common practice of making “reciprocal arrangements” (in which states exchange promises of support for one another in various elections or selection processes) undermines competitive elections.  Unraveling this vote-trading practice is our broad goal.

In promoting the above criteria and best practices in selections, the UNelections.org campaign aims to increase transparency regarding how the posts are filled, place a greater emphasis on individual qualifications, reduce corruptive political and financial trading for positions, and help ensure more equity for candidates from all member states.  Of course, the larger goal is for the appointment of better and more qualified leaders for those global institutions addressing the most sensitive and pressing problems of our world community.

UNelections.org does not take positions on individual candidates or appointees; the focus is on the process by which UN bodies make selection decisions.

The UNelections.org campaign is a work in progress and we welcome all constructive contributions, comments and criticism.