WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2016
NEW YORK, NY, May 25, 2016 – The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) convened historic Security Council Election Debates with candidates for non-permanent seats in the upcoming elections on June 28th. Debates took place at UN Headquarters on May 23rd and 24th—first with Ambassadors of Thailand and Kazakhstan from the Asia-Pacific Group, and second with Ambassadors of Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden from the Western European & Other Group.
Never before in its 70-year history has the UN seen open, public debates for UN Security Council candidates. Moderated by Mr. Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of WFUNA, and Emoke Bebiak, UN correspondent from DPA German Press Agency, and current Member at Large of the Executive Committee of the United Nations Correspondents Association, the debates featured equal interaction throughout by both Member States and civil society.
“We’ve convened these debates in a non-partisan manner—with the backing of our global network—as part of our mandate to strengthen the UN” explained Mr. Golmohammadi. “Can you have too much openness and transparency? Probably. But the UN, we believe, is far from that threshold.”
The unique openness of the debates sets a precedent for increased transparency and participation at the UN Security Council and the UN more generally.
“Events such as this are vital to allow the UN community and the wider general public greater insight into the various platforms that each candidate is putting forward,” said Emoke Bebiak. “On June 28th, when the results are in, the UN Community as a whole will know what to expect from the incoming new members.”
Questions during the events probed candidate policy positions on issues such as Security Council reform, climate change, sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping missions, the role of youth as peace-builders, and the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Watch recordings of the Asia Pacific Group and of the Western European & Other Group if you missed the events. The conversation was hosted digitally using the hashtag #UNSCElections, which has received over 13 million Twitter impressions around the world to date.
WFUNA plans to host the two remaining “clean-slate” candidates for a final debate prior to the June 28 election and will soon be reaching out to candidates for next year’s elections.