Right Candidate, Wrong Process

Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously reelected Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to a second term. The Secretary General certainly deserved reelection, but the election process itself was appalling. I talked about this on the BBC radio show, The World Today.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon certainly deserved to be reelected. His quiet leadership style has advanced the effectiveness and the capacity of the UN in many ways. From his work on climate change, his efforts to advance the role of women in the UN system, and his efforts to protect the populations in Coite d'Ivoire and Libya from mass atrocities, he has excelled.

Ambassador Rice also praised the work of General Ban Ki-moon:

"Secretary-General Ban is a leader who listens to the voices of the voiceless-of the refugees sheltered beneath UN tents, of the children vaccinated through UN programs, of the innocent civilians whose lives have been saved by effective UN action."

However, his election was a backroom, non-transparent affair and the process should not be repeated. The UN should look towards the World Health Organization for a better model on how to pick a leader.

The World Health Organization has a much more transparent process than the UN, with a call for nominations and multiple candidates who are interviewed by the delegates.

Compared to the IMF process (18-day nomination period, formal interviews with multiple candidates, and a week-long deliberative process), Ban announced his campaign, was re-nominated and was confirmed within 15 days!

Citizens for Global Solutions' board member, Tony Fleming, has written a blog, Global Memo, that I highly recommend following if you want an inside perspective in UN electoral politics. Tony says: "Appointment to the post of UN Secretary General deserves due and deliberative debate, and failure to give it such minimizes and disrespects the office and its occupant both."

Elections do not exist for show; they are in place to prevent corruption and to include their members in the election process so that all who have a voice are heard.