You are here: The last word: why does the UN Secretary-General matter to you?

New World readers share their views on why they care about who gets the UN’s top job and what they hope the successful candidate will do.

Sometimes our national leaders get caught up in domestic issues. I am reassured that the UN Secretary-General is in a position to take a step back and see the bigger picture – looking at how nations are affecting each other for good and bad. Kiran Gupta

I regard this job as potentially the most important in the world. It is a job of influence rather than power which, if used intelligently, can change the lives of poor and oppressed people all over the world  for the better. The UN has the continuity which politicians of all persuasions lack and, with the right calibre of Secretary-General, can hold member and non-member countries to account for their actions, good and bad, by bringing them to the attention of the world.Donne Buck

The role of Secretary-General is extraordinarily challenging: advocate, diplomat, leader, speaker and negotiator, both innovator and traditionalist. And yet individuals have indeed managed to achieve what seems impossible, even if fleetingly. Hence I care deeply that we find a respected leader, worthy of being followed and helped, with and under  whom it might just be possible to gain consensus between key nations. Without such an individual… we are doomed to stumble back down the pathway that leads to the scourge of war. Michael Harwood

For the first time, and thanks to the 1 for 7 Billion campaign, I feel he or she will be representing me and the rest of the  7 billion, and answerable to all of us, as to the UN’s member states. In responding to Nikita Khruschev’s demand he resign in 1960, Dag Hammarskjöld stated “It is not the Soviet Union or indeed any other big powers who need the UN for their protection. It is all the others.” Now, for  the first time, “we the peoples” can fairly count ourselves amongst “the others”. David Wardrop, UNA Westminster

The role of all Secretaries-General is to be a spokesperson for the people of the world and now, more than ever, the world needs to be united, not divided. I believe the next leader of the United Nations must position themselves as an actor for peace, both publicly and privately, in order to make the world a better place. Amelia Seeto, UNA Australia

Global problems can only be solved with global solutions. In this challenging world, we need the best person, an inspiring leader – woman or man – who can hold the world in her or his heart and lead us towards a just, secure and peaceful world. Celine Paramunda

I am from a very tiny island in the Pacific. We need someone who understands  what it is like to be sad and to become  a refugee because your land is disappearing due to climate change. Especially when we do not have a big part in polluting our environment. We need someone who can sympathise with us … and most importantly, someone who is a natural leader. Matennang Atauea

Our lovely planet and its inhabitants face so many threats – climate change, pandemics, terrorism, forced migration – and only the UN stands between Earth and catastrophe. Its Secretary-General needs to be strong, talented, understanding and the most complete leader we have known. Olivia Richardson

I feel that this period in history is one of the most dangerous in terms of conflict, displacement of peoples and climate challenges – and yet it is also a time when many of the world’s institutions seem to be disengaged. We need a leader who can articulate a clear set of solutions on the world stage and pull decision-makers together to make these solutions a reality. Ngaire Bushell

I care because I want somebody who is strong enough to carry the will of the majority of UN countries, rather than the vested interests of the permanent members of the Security Council. Barry Horton

Given that no country in the world has achieved gender equality, the prejudice and discrimination faced by women worldwide poses an undeniable and significant barrier to achieving a globally united world. I want a UN SecretaryGeneral who will commit to enforce greater progress in women’s rights as  part of their agenda. Eshitha Vaz