WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2016
NEW YORK, NY - After the release of the results of the sixth informal Straw Poll today, and a subsequent formal vote tomorrow, it appears that the United Nations Security Council has reached a decision on a candidate to be nominated to the General Assembly to assume the position of UN Secretary-General. The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) welcome this show of unity by the Security Council.
The forthcoming nomination of H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres comes after the candidate availed himself to the openness and transparency of the new process, engaging in a number of civil society debates and dialogues. Civil society around the world have a clear idea on the proposals the candidate has made, and look forward to ensuring the UN community works together to deliver on these commitments. WFUNA is a proud supporter of the 1 for 7 billion campaign, and all the related initiatives that helped contribute to an unprecedented rise in openness and transparency in the process to select the next Secretary-General.
WFUNA had echoed the many calls that urged the Security Council to consider a female candidate for the highest diplomatic office of the United Nations, noting this in a resolution at our 41st plenary assembly in 2015, and in an Executive Committee statement released in September 2016. Our desire to see a female Secretary-General in the future has not wavered in light of the decision reached on H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres’ candidacy.
Nonetheless, we acknowledge the deep experience that makes the candidate a highly qualified individual for this job. We recognize the candidate’s strong record on gender equality, during his previous positions as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and as the former Prime Minister of Portugal, and urge him to prioritize this cause as the next UN Secretary-General. At a time where consensus at the Security Council seems elusive, we believe that this candidate will be well suited to becoming the strong and effective leader that the United Nations needs.
WFUNA counts on H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres to follow through on his many commitments made during this process. In particular, we look forward to the following:
- The reconstitution of UN Agency mandates and priorities to place the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the core work of the entire system
- The introduction of a time-bound, clearly defined roadmap with benchmarks to achieve full gender and regional equity for high-level positions in the United Nations system
- The commitment by the United Nations system as a whole to ensure that there is no impunity for UN forces and staff who commit sexual exploitation and abuse, and the prioritization of the protection of civilians for all UN Peace Operations
- The integration of human rights throughout each UN agency and UN mission, a continuation of the legacy of H.E. Ban Ki-Moon’s Human Rights up Frontinitiative, and an institutional recommitment to mass atrocity prevention
- A complete institutional commitment to the Sustaining Peace agenda and a recommitment to preventative diplomacy at the highest political level
- A new mechanism and approach to foster serious responsibility and burden sharing to deal with the unprecedented refugee crisis the world is currently facing
- Outside the box thinking to deal with the world’s humanitarian crisis that leverages new funding that does not undermine previous development cooperation resources
- Further protection for civil society around the world and for their access and inclusion to United Nations processes
- A commitment to the role of youth as agents for change, with the acknowledgement that Youth should be involved in decision-making at all levels
- An attitude of independence throughout his tenure as UN Secretary-General to ensure that the international community can be supported to best deal with the many crises and issues facing the world today
If voted in by the General Assembly, WFUNA looks forward to supporting H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres in his role, and will do the utmost to work with his office and the rest of the UN system to help deliver on these promises.