Men Voting for Men: UN Security Council Holds Its First Straw Poll to Pick a Secretary-General

United Nations Secretary General Straw Poll Webcast

The first straw poll to test the support of Security Council members for candidates vying to become the next United Nations secretary-general occurred Thursday morning. The vote took place amid strong interest by global media who report on the world body as well as the dozen candidates, the UN’s 193 member states and people who … Read more

Getting to Know the UN Secretary-General Candidates Better: A Wrap-Up of Two New York Forums

When it comes to the United Nations, the word “debate” takes on a civilized bearing, with no relation to heated contests among many sides. Over two nights this week at different settings in New York, UN secretary-general candidates campaigning to fill the shoes of Ban Ki-moon in January 2017 debated publicly. One event, held at … Read more

Less Politics and More Transparency: What New Leadership Will Mean for the UN

In a year when people who follow the United Nations are focusing on the election of the next secretary-general, the center of early action in that election has moved for the first time in history from the secretive deliberations of the Security Council to an unprecedented open campaign in the General Assembly, which normally has only … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Woman, a Bombast and a Socialist: The UN and US Elections

The major contenders for one of the highest public offices in the world include the first possible female candidate for the position; a slightly aggressive (and that’s what his friends say about him) surprise candidate; and a socialist who’s not really supposed to be there but has garnered enough support to possibly be a contender. … Read more

New Candidates for Secretary-General Make Their Cases at the UN

The field of nine candidates campaigning formally to become the next United Nations secretary-general grew by two on June 7, when Miroslav Lajcak, Slovakia’s foreign minister, and Susana Malcorra, who holds the same position in Argentina, spoke in public sessions lasting more than two hours each, taking questions from UN member delegates and civil society … Read more

The Field Grows and Shifts in the Race for UN Secretary-General

The second crop of campaigners making a pitch to replace Ban Ki-moon in January is now being assembled, and it looks like the first declared candidate on the list may well shake up the race. She is Susana Malcorra, Argentina’s foreign minister and a well-respected, internationally known former United Nations official. The next round of … Read more

Fixing UN Peacekeeping Operations: The World’s Most Complicated Army

It has been almost a year since a sweeping assessment of United Nations peacekeeping operations by experts recommended significant changes from top to bottom: a reformed hierarchy in New York and greater coordination and discipline among military contingents in ever-more dangerous missions around the world. Few of their substantive ideas have been adopted. As outrage … Read more

UN Puts on Big To-Do, Amid Tight Security, for Signing of New Climate Agreement

The United Nations threw a large and lavish party at its headquarters in New York on Earth Day, the opening day of the signing ceremony for the world’s new climate agreement. About 170 heads of state and government representatives came to inscribe their names, in alphabetical order by country, in the General Assembly Hall, in … Read more

Another First for Candidates for UN Secretary-General? Tweeting

This is not your grandfather’s election cycle. Will this be the year a woman is elected to one of the highest political positions in the world? What’s up with the surprise candidate gaining unexpected momentum? Can any candidate truly blend the need for the best-qualified administration with gender parity? It is unequivocal that this year’s … Read more

A UN First After 70 Years: Open Campaigning for Secretary-General

It was a week unprecedented in the history of the United Nations. From April 12 to 14, nine candidates for the office of secretary-general were put on a public stage in front of the world to make their cases as to why they should be elected to follow Ban-Ki-moon when his term ends this year. … Read more

The Next UN Secretary-General: Views From UN Watchers

The results of the latest FUNDS survey of global experts, conducted during the winter of 2015-16, contains clear messages about the next United Nations secretary-general: s/he should be a world leader with integrity and political courage who will prioritize UN reform; and the election process should be open and transparent. There is more room for … Read more

A New Plan to Recruit Candidates for UN Secretary-General Emerges

For the first time in United Nations history, officially announced candidates for the secretary-general race, underway this year, will be interviewed publicly in the General Assembly along the lines of a standard democratic election. Mogens Lykketoft, the Assembly president and a Dane, is pushing the “unprecedented transparent process,” as he put it, in selecting the … Read more

A Task for the Next UN Secretary-General: Review the Special Envoy System

When a tough independent report sharply criticized the United Nations in December for its bungled attempts to cover up, or at least ignore, the sexual abuse of children by peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic in recent years, it named among the people responsible for letting the children down Leila Zerrougui, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s … Read more

The UN General Assembly Grows More Assertive Under a Dane

Corridor diplomacy — private nonmeetings, informal discussions — has been the norm at the United Nations since its founding 70 years ago. It is the preferred method of its most powerful organ, the Security Council, particularly now, as the election of the UN’s next secretary-general for the 2017-2022 term is underway. In this election year, … Read more

New Snags for Women Running in the UN Secretary-General Race

The only official female candidate in the competition so far to become the next United Nations secretary-general may already be in flux. Just a few weeks have passed since the Croatian government sent a letter to the UN nominating Vesna Pusic, a former foreign minister, but her candidacy may be uncertain because of a change … Read more

The UN’s Demands to Stop the Violence in Yemen Fall on Deaf Ears

While the regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues its aerial bombardment against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and as ground troops — from Bahrain, Sudan and United Arab Emirates — join the Saudis in the fray, the pain dealt to civilians, especially children, has been rising ever since the war began in March. In … Read more

The Heart of Pope Francis’s Speech at the UN: Don’t Look Past the Poor

Pope Francis spread his gospel of not forgetting the poor at the United Nations on Friday morning, where he spoke in his native Spanish to the 193 member delegations and heads of state gathered before him at the General Assembly Hall. It was his first appearance at the UN during his first trip to the … Read more

50-50: Bridging the UN’s Gender Gap [Video]

As Colombia leads a group of dozens of nations to promote a woman as the next United Nations secretary-general, when Ban Ki-moon leaves office at the end of 2016, these same voices are also demanding gender equality inside the UN, especially at senior and high-policymaking levels. It’s not surprising that women who work at the … Read more

Ban Ki-moon Shuffles Up to Buffalo, but Why?

BUFFALO — Last Friday, Aug. 14, the United Nations secretary-general took a “summer Friday” and spent the afternoon in Buffalo. Robert G. Wilmer, chief executive officer of M&T Bank, the nation’s 17th-largest, had invited the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, to the city. The two met while Wilmer was traveling in South Korea, where Ban is from. In … Read more

UN Security Council and Troop Contributors Chided by Review Panel

While restructuring at the top of the United Nations and better strategies and tactics for troops on the ground are issues provoking discussion and controversy after the recent release of a report by a high-level panel on current and future peacekeeping, less attention has been paid to the experts’ admonitions to the Security Council and … Read more

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