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Let's Change How the United Nations Secretary General is Chosen

Who is Ban Ki-Moon answerable too? Wikipedia image.

Who is Ban Ki-Moon answerable to? Wikipedia image.

The UN Secretary-General plays a crucial role in tackling global challenges and improving the lives of seven billion people. It is vital that the best person is chosen for the job. But, do you know the selection process is secretive and outdated? Just five countries hold sway over a decision that affects us all.

An online campaign is urging individuals and organizations to push for a more inclusive and transparent process in electing the UN Secretary General, who will take office in 2016.

In this video, the campaign's organisers explain why:

The post of UN Secretary-General is said to be the world’s most impossible job. It is also one of the most important.

The informal steering committee of the 1 for 7 billion campaign includes:

They argue the selection process for the next UN Secretary-General should be:

  • Focused on producing the best possible candidate
  • Held in a timely and structured manner
  • Based on formal criteria and qualifications
  • Designed to promote gender parity and grounded in best practice on equality and diversity
  • Transparent to the wider UN membership
  • Transparent to civil society, the general public and media
  • Inclusive for all members of the General Assembly and open to input from civil society.

The campaign included a Thunderclap* on April 27 when a debate on the process took place in the General Assembly. That Thunderclap reached almost 1.3 million people.

The organization's Twitter account expressed pride at seeing some of the campaign's efforts succeed:

On the campaign's website, they also have a list of potential candidates endorsed by either their governments or by the press.

1 for 7 billion campaign thunderclap for April 27 debate

1 for 7 billion campaign thunderclap for April 27 debate

It includes several women such as Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, the current Director General of UNESCO, Michelle Bachelet the Chilean President that used to head UN Women, and Amina Mohammed of Nigeria, the UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor on post-2015 Development Planning.

The U.N. has thus far never had a female Secretary General.

The campaign's policy platform is available in six languages: English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, French and Russian.

Some Twitter users have already shared their thoughts on the matter , reflecting on the various countries’ positions at the debate:

You can follow the campaign by signing in on to their website, via the Twitter hashtag #FindTheBestUNLeader and the handle @1for7billion.

* Thunderclap is a crowd-speaking tool designed to help announcements, causes and campaigns reach a mass-audience.

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