NEW YORK, NY –The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) hosted interactive dialogues with the candidates for President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly on June 10, 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York. H.E. Mr. Andreas Mavroyiannis, the candidate nominated by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, and then H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, the candidate nominated by the Government of Fiji, presented their opening statements and answered live questions from member states and civil society.
The General Assembly is the central deliberative and policymaking organ of the UN. Unlike the Security Council, all 193 member nations have equal voting rights in the GA. The hearings with the two PGA candidates were part of continuing efforts to promote transparency and accountability in the way the United Nations operates. Moderated by Mr. Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of WFUNA, the hearings provided both Member States and civil society the opportunity to interact with the two candidates before the PGA election on Monday, June 13, when the representative from Fiji was elected.
“The outgoing President of the GA has dramatically increased transparency at the UN, for instance by opening up the process for selecting the next UN Secretary-General” explained Mr. Golmohammadi. “But there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark, the current President of the General Assembly, has hosted hearings with the candidates for Secretary-General of the UN in a potentially game-changing move towards transparency. However, the one-year office of the PGA has also been riddled with challenges in the last few years. As the seat was contested, there was an opportunity—especially for civil society organizations—to highlight the importance of openness and transparency, to hear what to expect from the next President, and to hold them accountable to those commitments during their term.
As a civil society organization, WFUNA was particularly interested in hearing the candidates’ responses to questions from missions and other civil society stakeholders.
If you missed the hearings, you can watch them here: