You are here: UNA-UK calls on Lords to speak up for a fairer process to select the UN chief

3 September 2015

On Thursday 10 September, the House of Lords will host a rare debate on the effectiveness of the United Nations, with a particular focus on the selection process of the Secretary-General and other senior UN appointments. The 90-minute session will mark the most significant parliamentary debate in over two decades on UN reform. 

As a co-founder of the 1 for 7 Billion campaign, UNA-UK is encouraging Peers to speak up for a fairer, more inclusive process to select the next UN leader. We have sent a briefing to participating Parliamentarians, detailing the outdated and opaque selection process that characterises the Secretary-General’s appointment and setting out recommendations for change. 

Click here to download the briefing 

1 for 7 Billion maintains that the UN Secretary-General selection process remains out of touch with many of the key principles embodied by the Organization. The current appointment procedure is dominated by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who nominate just one candidate to be rubber-stamped by the General Assembly. There is no job description or selection criteria, and no woman has ever held the post

UNA-UK’s 1 for 7 Billion campaign calls for a more open and inclusive selection process for the UN Secretary-General, with genuine involvement of all UN member states and civil society. Our 10 proposals for reform include the nomination of more than one candidate by the Security Council and a clear timetable for the selection process.

On the 1 for 7 Billion 'map of support', the United Kingdom is identified as a "strong supporter" of the campaign's proposals, having publicly endorsed three of the campaign's recommendations: (1) improved dialogue between states and candidates; (2) a commitment to gender equality in the selection process and; (3) a formal timeline with deadlines for nominations and the selection. UNA-UK hopes that Britain will join countries such as Algeria, Brazil and Liechtenstein as a "highly committed" supporter by championing five or more campaign proposals. 

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Organization, UNA-UK believes a fitting tribute by the UK Government would be to make a public statement on the importance of the UN as a global institution to the UK and wider world and commit to developing a coherent strategy for British engagement within the global system.