Issue 44 - 9 February 2007 - Ban Ki-moon Announces Appointments and Retentions, Accepts Resignations of Many Top Advisors

New York, 9 February 2007 – After weeks of pressure to announce his high-level appointments, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made decisions regarding much of his senior-level team today. The details were discussed in a press conference with Ban’s spokesperson (below) and are summarized in a UN News Centre article.

Still remaining to be made are appointments related to the potential restructuring of the Secretariat, in particular the posts related to disarmament affairs and peacekeeping.

Highlights of Today’s Press Conference with Michele Montas (Source)

  • Chef de Staff Vijay Nambiar announced that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has accepted the offer of resignation of the following senior officials and has conveyed to them his deep appreciation for their services to the United Nations. In making this decision, the Secretary-General has taken into account various factors, including the need to change with continuity, ongoing discussion on the restructuring plan, and the need to promote mobility at all levels. The resignation will take effect on the expiry date of the current contract up to June 2007 unless otherwise decided:

  • Mr. Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
    Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
    Mr. Jian Chen, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management
    Mr. Ibrahim A. Gambari, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
    Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
    Mr. Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Africa
    Mr. Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, High Representative for the Least-Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
    Ms. Mervat Tallawy, Executive-Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
    Mr. Hak-su Kim, Executive-Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
    Mr. Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peace-keeping Operations
    Mr. Patrizio M. Civili, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
    Mr. Carlos Lopes, Assistant Secretary-General and Director for Political Affairs (Executive Office of the Secretary-General)
    Mr. Toshiyuki Niwa, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
    Ms. Rima Salah, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
    Mr. Kunio Waki, Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, UNFPA

  • The following appointments of senior officials at UN Headquarters in New York have been made by the Secretary-General. Other senior appointments not announced today, including those posts subject to ongoing discussion with the Member States, will be made in due course through a consultative process:

  • Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Mr. Sha Zukang (China)
    Department of Political Affairs: Mr. B. Lynn Pascoe (United States of America)
    Department of Public Information: Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan)
    Department of General Assembly and Conference Management: Mr. S. Muhammad Shaaban (Egypt)

  • Other senior appointments not announced today, including those posts subject to ongoing discussions with Member States, will be made in due course through a consultative process. The Secretary-General has decided as a policy that terms of appointment at senior levels should not normally exceed five years. He is therefore reviewing appointments in the light of this policy decision.

  • As of today, therefore, the composition of the Secretary-General’s senior management team at the Under-Secretary-General and above levels is, as follows – and I probably be at risk of repetition – is: Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania as the Deputy Secretary-General; myself, Vijay Nambiar, is the Chef de Cabinet; Ms. Alicia Barcena of Mexico will be Under-Secretary-General for Management; Mr. John Holmes, UK, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; Mr. Lynn Pascoe, U.S., Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Mr. Sha Zukang, China, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan, the Under-Secretary-General for Public Information; Nicolas Michel, Switzerland, will be Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs; Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno, France, will be Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Mr. Muhammad Shaaban, Egypt, will be Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs.Mr. David Veness of the UK will be Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security; Ms. Inga-Britt Ahlenuius of Sweden will be Under-Secretary-General of Internal Oversight Services; Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Sri Lanka, will be Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict; Mr. Antonio Maria Costa of Italy will be Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna; Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Russia, will be Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva; Mr. Thoraya Obaid, Saudi Arabia, will be Executive Director of the UN Population Fund; Mr. Ad Melkert of the Netherlands will be Associate Administrator of the UNDP; Mr. Marek Belka, Poland, will be Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE); Mr. Joe Luis Machinea of Argentina will be Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and Mr. Aboulie Janneh of the Gambia will be Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

  • In response to questions, the Chef de Cabinet noted that the appointments process had taken place in several stages. First, the vacancies that had previously been opened had been filled. Now, a second stage of appointments of Under-Secretaries-General had taken place.
  • Afterward, he said, other appointments would follow, including for Assistant Secretaries-General, after which the appointments of the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives would follow.
  • Asked about further appointments to be made, the Chef de Cabinet said that some appointments may wait until after the restructuring process takes place.
  • Asked about the qualifications of the new appointees, Nambiar said that the Secretary-General was satisfied of the requisite qualifications of the candidates. He noted, in response to a question on shortlists, that where shortlists are required, they would be used. The Secretary-General, he stressed, has made his appointments in accordance with established practice.
  • Asked whether the senior officials would be held to five years of service in their posts, the Chef de Cabinet said that would be the normal practice, although some exigencies would be taken into account.
  • The principle, he said, would be to provide two-year contracts for the senior officials who have previously been serving at the United Nations, and, if they reach five years, they could be given one-year contracts.
  • Asked whether the Secretary-General only looked at one candidate submitted by one State for certain posts, the Chef de Cabinet said that the Secretary-General had examined a wide range of candidates from a wide range of countries, selecting them on the basis of geographical representation, among other criteria. Specifically asked about Japan, he said that the Secretary-General had looked at more than one candidate from that country.
  • Asked about the contracts of departing senior officials who are also UN staff, Nambiar said that their contracts and any conditions in them will be treated in the proper manner.
  • Asked about the payment of departing officials, he said that they would have remuneration in accordance with existing rules and would receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.
  • Asked whether some of the officials whose resignations were accepted may stay on in other posts, the Chef de Cabinet said that the Secretary-General would keep that matter under advisement, since he may want to use the experience of some senior officials.
  • Asked about any concern that the United Nations was losing some of its best people, the Chef de Cabinet said that there was also a need to build new talent and experience.
  • Asked about criticism regarding the length of time it took to make the appointments, Nambiar said that the Secretary-General had been conscious of the need to move quickly. He acknowledged that there had been a slippage in the timing of the appointments, for a variety of reasons.
  • Asked about applications for posts in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the Chef de Cabinet noted that some 500 applications for those posts had been received, and work was being done now to go over them and prepare for shortlists. That selection process, he said, is in accordance with usual procedures. He called the opening of the Executive Office posts throughout the UN system “unprecedented”.
  • Asked about the significance of today’s appointments, the Chef de Cabinet said that they impart a certain dynamic to the Secretary-General’s own tenure and could help him to realize his vision of how he wants the United Nations to work.