In the News

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.

The Guardian: "UN Urged to End 'Haphazard Lottery' of Leadership Selection Process"

11 November 2014

The Guardian's Sam Stone reports on our 1 for 7 Billion campaign to reform the selection process for the UN Secretary-General, drawing attention to the "secret deals and horse trading" which define the current process.  

To read the full article, please read below the fold.  The article can also be accessed as a pdf here .  


NY Times: "Calls Grow to Broaden Search for Next UN Leader"

11 November 2014

 In a recent New York Times article, Somini Sengupta draws attention to the disproportionate role of the permanent five members of the Security Council in the selection of the UN Secretary-General.  She cites the efforts of our new campaign, 1 for 7 Billion , to encourage a more transparent and inclusive selection process in 2016.

To read the full article, please read below the fold.  The article can also be accessed as a pdf here .  


Special ECOSOC Election 2014

10 November 2014

Today the General Assembly held a special election to fill three vacant seats in the Economic and Social Council.  The election was made necessary by a note from the Permanent Representative of Switzerland, in his capacity as chair of the Western European and Others group for the month of September.  The note, which was dated 30 September 2014 , informed the Assembly that Canada, Denmark, and New Zealand would give up their seats in 2015.  These seats would be given to Australia, Finland, and Switzerland, respectively.

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