In the News

Human Rights Council: Hearings for the 2016-2018 Term

16 June 2015

Yesterday, candidates for the Human Rights Council responded to questions from member states, civil society, and the general public in an open session held at UN headquarters in New York. 

During the session, candidates responded to questions posed on Twitter as well as in person. The topics ranged from the national human rights records and mechanisms adopted in each country as well as the candidates' priorities and vision for membership on the Human Rights Council.  Gender equality and the plight of migrants and refugees were top concerns during the session. The use of torture; LGBTI rights; protection of human rights defenders; and the rights of indigenous populations were also addressed. 

Mogens Lykketoft Appointed Next President of the GA

16 June 2015

 Yesterday the UN General Assembly elected Mr. Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark) as the President of the 70th session of the General Assembly. Lykketoft, who was approved by the Western European and Others Group, was elected by acclamation. 

 Following the election, Lykketoft described his approach to the office, emphasizing his commitment to achieving "pragmatic and action-oriented outcomes". He highlighted global poverty, sustainable development, human rights, and global peace and security as particular concerns. 

In his remarks, Lykketoft also touched on two major reform issues this year: Security Council reform and the appointment of the next UN Secretary-General. He noted that many member states have expressed interest in a process which allows candidates to be presented in a more official way.  

ACT Group Writes to the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council on the Next UNSG

On June 1st, the Accountability, Coherence, Transparency (ACT)  group sent letters to the Presidents of the General Assembly  and Security Council  urging them to play a more active role in the appointment process for the next UN Secretary-General.  The group recommended specific action s which could be taken by the Presidents o

PassBlue: "Angela Kane is Leaving the UN in a Political Shuffle"

11 March 2015

The UN's High Representative for Disarmament, Angela Kane, has announced that she will be stepping down early this summer.   In a new article on PassBlue, Barbara Crossette reports on rumors about the reasons for Kane's departure:

"Reports are circulating around the UN that Kane, one of the few high-ranking women in peace and security, was being moved from her position to accommodate an aide to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will be out of a job when Ban’s second term ends in 2016."

New Head of Humanitarian Affairs Appointed

10 March 2015

Drawing the controversy  that began in late November to a close, Stephen O’Brien, a member of the UK Parliament, has been appointed head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Emergency Relief Coordinator. 

It is informally understood that the position, like certain other senior UN posts, is an entitlement of the permanent five members of the Security Council.  In the case of OCHA, the UK’s prime minister would identify one of its nationals for appointment by the UN Secretary-General. 

"The Security Council's Credibility Test": How to Enhance the Council's 21st Century Image

22 January 2015 


In an opinion piece for Project Syndicate, Gareth Evans reflects on the composition of the Security Council and what it means for the Council's relevance today.  The Council's failure to include many of the 21st century's "major players" in its decisions, Evans argues, undermines its credibility as "the world’s foremost decision-maker on issues of peace and security".

In the absence of Security Council reform, Evans proposes that changes to the working methods of the Council--such as the optional "French code" for permanent members--can enhance the Council's global image and preserve its authority in the 21st century.

Update on the Appointment of the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

3 December 2014

Earlier today the Secretariat issued a statement announcing that it would request candidate nominations for the position of Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.   The announcement follows the outcry surrounding UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recommendation to the Secretary-General that Andrew Lansley, his friend and political ally, be appointed to the post. 

The decision seems to refute the informal understanding that the United Kingdom would select the next appointee for the position. Instead, the Secretariat's note paves the way for a more open and transparent selection process.  The note  includes a detailed job description; candidate qualifications; and a deadline for nominations.  The Secretary-General particularly requests that female candidates be recommended for the position. 

The Next UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs: A P-5 Entitlement?

26 November 2014

The current UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has announced that she will step down from the position in March 2015.  Ms. Amos has held the position for the past four years.

Like many senior appointments in the UN Secretariat, the position is considered to be an entitlement of the permanent five members of the Security Council.  As a result of such informal arrangements, the Secretary-General will typically appoint the candidate chosen by the head of government of one of the P-5 countries. The Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs is expected to go to the UK's candidate of choice.   

Foreign Policy: "The Race for Secretary-General is Rigged"

25 November 2014

Is the race for UN Secretary-General rigged?  Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch examines the selection process for the Secretary-General and possible candidates for 2016.  He also discusses our latest civil society campaign, 1 for 7 Billion , which calls for a fair and transparent selection process.

To read the full article, click here .  

Conclusion of the ICJ Elections 2014

17 November 2014

Elections to appoint five members of the International Court of Justice began on the 6th of November.  Although four judges were elected that day, the General Assembly and Security Council were unable to select a fifth member.

Elections resumed the following day in order to decide whether Susana Ruiz Cerutti, of Argentina, or Patrick Lipton Robinson, of Jamaica, would be appointed to the ICJ.  When, after several rounds of voting, neither of the remaining two candidates received the required number of votes in both the Security Council and General Assembly, the election for the fifth seat was postponed until the 17th of November.

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