Issue 7 - 27 June 2006 - UNSGselection campaign releases questionnaire for SG candidates

27 June 2006, New York – The UNSGselection campaign has developed a candidate questionnaire, based on consultation with and input from civil society groups worldwide. The 14 questions are intended to shed light on candidates’ qualifications, vision, and priorities as UN Secretary General in areas of particular concern to civil society, and in consideration of the candidate qualifications agreed upon by the campaign groups. UNSGselection hopes that candidates will respond publicly to the questionnaire, that Member States will keep these questions in mind when evaluating candidates, and that the media will use the questions as a guide in interviewing candidates.

  1. Overview: In what ways have your past experiences, positions, and duties promoted or demonstrated a commitment to the principles of the UN?
  1. Peace and Security: In the past two decades, the UN’s peacekeeping operations have grown to become one of its largest and most prominent functions. What aspects of the current debate on peacekeeping, as reflected in the Brahimi Report on Peacekeeping Operations, are especially important for creating a more robust institution, effective in addressing the most severe challenges to peacekeeping and peacebuilding?
  1. Protecting Civilians: While the UN Charter opens with, “We the peoples of the United Nations,” the organization remains an intergovernmental body comprised of member states. Is the UN Secretary General therefore responsible primarily to the citizens of the world or the states of the world? Where does the threshold lie between the UN’s obligations to protect civilian populations and to respect national sovereignty?
  1. Human Rights: Kofi Annan has written, “[The framers of the UN Charter] decided to create an organization to ensure respect for fundamental human rights, establish conditions under which justice and the rule of law could be maintained, and ‘promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.’” During his term, Annan has initiated and supported substantial reform of the UN’s human rights machinery in order that human rights could be given its rightful institutional emphasis as one of the three pillars of the United Nations. If you were selected as his successor, what specific steps would you take to follow on his processes?
  1. Development: What are the main elements of an effective development strategy/agenda, and in which areas should ECOSOC, as opposed to international financial institutions, play a leading role? What specific role should the Secretary General play in promoting this development agenda?
  1. Governance: An ongoing challenge of international governance is the tension between timeliness and effectiveness, and legitimacy of decisions based on broad representation. Given the current criticism of the UN for a lack of transparency, accountability and democracy, as well as the need for it to address growing problems on an urgent basis, where do the key opportunities lie in the UN system for increased democratic governance allowing all member states equal representation, without hindering effectiveness?
  1. Gender: How can the UN better promote gender equality and women’s human rights, both at the Secretariat and at the operational level? What specifically would you do to strengthen both the gender mainstreaming efforts at the UN as well as the gender “architecture,” i.e. the agencies charged with advancing gender equality and women’s human rights? How do you envision reaching the UN goal of 50/50 gender balance in the Secretariat?
  1. International Justice: How will you strengthen member states’ commitment to international justice mechanisms such as the ICC and international criminal tribunals?
  1. Environment: How can the UN provide more comprehensive and coherent management and monitoring of the multilateral environmental agreements? How can the UN strengthen a sustainable development-oriented agenda throughout both the Secretariat and at the country level?
  1. Disarmament and non-proliferation: What institutional changes are needed within the United Nations, in particular with respect to the role of the Secretariat, to improve the capacity to respond to global challenges posed by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, missiles and other means of their delivery, and the risk of their acquisition by terrorists?
  1. UN Reform: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of Kofi Annan’s reform recommendations (i.e. “In Larger Freedom,” March 2005)? What are the needed reforms, and what role should the Secretary General play in promoting those reforms?
  1. UN Leadership Roles: What do you see as the key duties of the Secretary General versus the Deputy SG? What qualifications would you look for in a candidate for deputy? Should the Secretary-General have more flexibility in delegating managerial and administrative tasks to the Deputy-SG? Do you already have anyone in mind for the post?
  1. Mediating Role of Secretary General: Progress on key issues is often undermined by tensions and mistrust between developed and developing countries. What role can the Secretary General play in addressing that divide? What experience do you have that would aid you in the considerable task of achieving the compromises and building the consensus necessary for meaningful action?
  1. Role of Civil Society: What role should civil society and other non-state stakeholders play in the work of the UN? What measures should a Secretary General take to improve UN-civil society relations?