NGO disappointed with new UN Secretary-General

With the appointment of the next UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, a non-governmental organisation, Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General, has expressed disappointment with the UN Security Council for failing to select a woman for the position.

“This is a tragic missed opportunity for the UN to demonstrate its respect for women and its support for the empowerment of women and girls. The seven women candidates are outstanding, equal to or better than the men, and any one of them would have made a strong UN Secretary-General,” the NGO said in a statement.

It noted: “Our campaign did not achieve our ultimate goal, but in the process, we did a thorough job of inserting the idea of electing a woman Secretary-General front and centre, capturing the attention of the media on a world-sized scale.”

“Nevertheless, the decision has been made and the General Assembly has confirmed the nomination. Out of respect for the UN as an important institution in world affairs, we will support the new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and hold him accountable to his promise to create gender equity within the higher levels of the UN in the shortest period of time.

“Once he is confirmed, we expect him to name a UN Deputy Secretary-General, who must be a woman and we strongly suggest that she be chosen from the seven outstanding female candidates whom the world has come to know and respect,” it stated.

The NGO however noted that “13 candidates competed in this historic, more transparent UN Secretary-General selection process and we thank all of them for their efforts.” Among these were the seven outstanding women candidates, Ms. Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), Ms. Helen Clark (New Zealand), Ms. Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica), Ms. Kristalina Georgieva (Bulgaria), Ms. Natalia Gherman (Moldova), Ms. Susana Malcorra (Argentina), and Ms. Vesna Pusic (Croatia).

“We salute these women and know that they will continue contributing their skills and determination in the years to come,” it concluded.

Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

He will succeed current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, of the South Korea, who was appointed in 2006 and will leave the post at the end of this year. He will assume the role in January 2017 and will serve a five year term, which can be renewed by UN member States for an additional five years.