Category Archives: Breaking news

UN agency saves 600 stranded migrants in Sahara Desert, but 52 dead in Niger

Walking through desert. Photo: World Bank

27 June 2017 – The United Nations migration agency in Niger has saved more than 600 lives since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation that targets migrants stranded in Sahara Desert, but 52 did not survive.

“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border,” said Giuseppe Loprete, Niger Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in press release issued today.

“Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route‎,” Loprete added.

A 22-year-old woman was the only female among the survivors of a rescue mission on 28 May. She left Nigeria in early April hoping for a better future in Europe. There were 50 migrants on the pick-up truck when it left Agadez for Libya, but only six are still alive today.

“We were in the desert for ten days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did,” she recalled.

During the next two days, 44 of the migrants died which persuaded the six left to start walking to look for help. “We had to drink our own pee to survive,” she said.

On 9 June, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation; among them were 30 women and children.

More recently, 24 migrants were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival. Among the 23 survivors are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. It was not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger. They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north.

IOM has recorded 52 deaths since it launched a new project “Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region” (MIRAA) in April. The project will last for 12 months, and aims to ensure the protection of migrants in hard-to-reach areas while also strengthening the management of migration by the Government of Niger.

MIRAA is complementary to the larger initiative “Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism” (MRRM), which aims to bring together in one mechanism a wide range of services and assistance for migrants, including assisted voluntary return to their countries of origin and reintegration once they return.

Sécurité : les Etats membres de l’UNSAC se retrouvent à Yaoundé du 29 mai au 02 juin pour leur 44e réunion ministérielle // Security: UNSAC Member States in Yaoundé from 29 May to 02 June for their 44th Ministerial Meeting

Yaoundé (Cameroun), 27 mai 2017– La  44e réunion ministérielle du Comité consultatif permanent des Nations Unies chargé des questions de sécurité en Afrique centrale (UNSAC) aura lieu du 29 mai au 02 juin 2017 à Yaoundé, la capitale du Cameroun. Les travaux commencent avec la rencontre des experts qui, pendant trois jours, feront un état des lieux prospectif de la situation sécuritaire et géopolitique dans les onze Etats membres du Comité (Angola, Burundi, Cameroun, République centrafricaine, Congo, République démocratique du Congo, Gabon, Guinée équatoriale, Rwanda, Sao Tomé et Principe, Tchad).

Les discussions porteront sur les questions en rapport avec, entre autres, la gouvernance politique et les multiples facteurs qui menacent la paix et la stabilité de la sous-région. Les participants échangeront notamment des vues sur la dimension régionale de certaines crises, dont celle de la République centrafricaine. Ils mettront également un accent sur les voies et moyens de renforcer la lutte contre les phénomènes comme la violence armée et le terrorisme, l’insécurité maritime dans le Golfe de Guinée, le braconnage et le trafic illicite des espèces sauvages, les tensions électorales, le trafic des drogues, la criminalité transnationale organisée, la prolifération des armes légères et de petit calibre, etc.

Sur ce dernier point, il convient de souligner que la 44e réunion du Comité s’ouvrira près de trois mois après l’entrée en vigueur, le 8 mars 2017, de la Convention de l’Afrique centrale pour le contrôle des armes légères et de petit calibre, de leurs munitions et de toutes pièces et composantes pouvant servir à leur fabrication, réparation et assemblage, dite “Convention de Kinshasa” – adoptée le 30 avril 2010 lors de la 30e réunion du Comité à Kinshasa (République démocratique du Congo). Cette entrée en vigueur a été facilitée par le dépôt, le 6 février 2017, du sixième instrument de ratification par l’Angola (précédé quelques années plus tôt par le Cameroun, la République centrafricaine, le Congo, le Gabon et le Tchad).

UNOCA avait exprimé sa satisfaction par rapport à cette évolution positive à laquelle il a contribué à travers diverses actions de plaidoyer auprès des Etats membres du Comité. « Nous continuerons à soutenir les efforts de la sous-région dans sa détermination à prévenir, à combattre et à mettre fin à la circulation incontrôlée des armes en Afrique centrale », souligne M. François Louncény Fall, Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique centrale et Chef de l’UNOCA, encourageant les pays qui ne l’ont pas encore fait à ratifier la Convention de Kinshasa. « Cela permettrait de renforcer davantage la confiance entre les Etats et de rassurer les populations, principales victimes de ce phénomène qui constitue par ailleurs une entrave au développement durable de l’Afrique centrale », explique-t-il.

Le Représentant spécial aura l’occasion d’évoquer cette question et bien d’autres dossiers cruciaux avec les chefs de délégation. Du 1er au 2 juin, M. François Louncény Fall prendra part à la session ministérielle dont l’un des temps forts sera la lecture, lors de la cérémonie officielle d’ouverture, du message du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, M. António Guterres. Cette phase protocolaire sera également marquée par la mise en place d’un nouveau bureau du Comité. Le Ministre camerounais des Relations extérieures en assurera la présidence pour une durée de six mois. Il succèdera à son homologue santoméen, qui occupe ce poste depuis la 43e réunion de l’UNSAC – qui a eu lieu du 28 novembre au 02 décembre 2016 à Sao Tomé.

Mis en place le 28 mai 1992 par l’ONU (à la demande des Etats membres de la CEEAC), le Comité, dont le fonctionnement vient de faire l’objet d’une évaluation, est un précieux outil de diplomatie préventive. Conformément à l’esprit d’un des séminaires fondateurs de cette institution organisé à Yaoundé du 17 au 21 juin 1991, le Comité a en effet pour mission principale de promouvoir les mesures de confiance aux niveaux régional et sous-régional afin d’atténuer les tensions et de faire progresser le désarmement et la non-prolifération des armes légères et de petit calibre en Afrique centrale. Depuis sa création, la capitale camerounaise a déjà abrité plusieurs de ses sessions. La dernière remonte à la 26e rencontre tenue du 3 au 7 septembre 2007.

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE N° 125 — Sécurité — les Etats membres de l’UNSAC se retrouvent à Yaoundé du 29 mai au 2 juin pour leur 44e réunion ministérielle

PRESS RELEASE N° 125 – Security — UNSAC Member states in Yaoundé from 29 May to 02 June for their 44th Ministerial Meeting

TEXTE ET PHOTOhttps://unoca.unmissions.org/unsac-44eme-reunion-les-etats-membres-se-retrouvent-%C3%A0-yaound%C3%A9-du-29-mai-au-2-juin

UN Secretary-General releases Report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach

  New York, 9 March 2017

The Secretary-General today released his report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach for consideration by the General Assembly.

During his first week in office, in January 2017, the Secretary-General established a diverse

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

High-Level Task Force, led by his Special Coordinator Jane Holl Lute, to develop as a matter of urgency a strategy to achieve visible and measurable improvements in the way the Organization prevents and responds to sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Such acts of cruelty should never take place.  Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” said the Secretary-General in a video message.

The report emphasizes that sexual exploitation and abuse is not exclusive to the peacekeeping forces, but can occur within any Organization just as any other part of the United Nations. It is therefore imperative that the United Nations addresses this problem through a system-wide approach.

The Secretary-General acknowledged that “the vast majority of UN troops and personnel serve with pride, dignity and respect for the people they assist and protect, very often in dangerous and difficult conditions and at great personal sacrifice.” However, he added that the “Organization continues to grapple with the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse, despite great efforts over many years to address it.”

The report outlines a victim-centered strategy rooted in transparency, accountability and ensuring justice. It focuses on four main areas:

·        Putting the rights and dignity of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse at the forefront of our efforts;

·        Establishing greater transparency on reporting and investigations in an effort to end impunity for those guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse;

·        Building a truly multi-stakeholder network to support the UN effort to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse; and

·        Raising awareness and sharing best practices to end this scourge.

Sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination. The Secretary-General is convinced that increasing the number of women throughout UN activities, including service as uniformed peacekeepers, would help advance the UN efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.

The Secretary-General’s new approach to combat sexual exploitation and abuse also seeks to build a strong partnership with Member States and stamping out this scourge will require all relevant actors to find strength in unity. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to deliver on these goals together: “Let us do so in the name of all who look to the United Nations for life-saving protection and support – and on behalf of the tens of thousands of United Nations personnel around the world who deliver that assistance with courage and commitment to the highest ideals.”

The Secretary-General is committed to the implementation of this strategy and has instructed and expects all his leadership to take immediate action. “We owe it to the people we serve, to all of those women, men and children who see the UN flag as a symbol of something as invaluable as it is intangible: hope”.

The report can be found at: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N17/054/00/PDF/N1705400.pd…
It is available on the Official Document System under symbol: A/71/818

SG’s Report on Special measures for protection from SEA – a new approach -E

SG’s Report on Special measures for protection from SEA – a new approach -F

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the occasion of the signing of the special agreement on the border dispute between the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Gabonese Republic

ban-ki-moon4Marrakech, 15 November 2016

The Secretary-General hosted today a signing ceremony on the margins of the COP-22 in Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco, with the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and the President of the Gabonese Republic, His Excellency Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba. The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of the United Nations mediation, which started in 2008, that aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution of the border dispute between the two countries for submission to the International Court of Justice.
The Secretary-General commended the two parties for demonstrating political leadership, courage and wisdom in reaching this historic agreement, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter. He also thanked the parties for the excellent cooperation extended to his lead official for the dispute, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, as well as to his predecessor, Mr. Nicolas Michel.
The Secretary-General expressed hope that the settlement of this longstanding border dispute would be a source of inspiration for other countries facing similar challenges, by demonstrating that a peaceful settlement.
The Secretary-General encouraged President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and President Bongo Ondimba to continue to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries and reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to assist in the promotion of regional peace and stability, notably through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in Libreville.

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Le Secrétaire général a présidé aujourd’hui, en marge de la COP-22 à Marrakech, Royaume du Maroc, une cérémonie de signature avec le Président de la République de Guinée équatoriale, Son Excellence Monsieur Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, et le Président de la République gabonaise, Son Excellence Monsieur Ali Bongo Ondimba. La cérémonie a marqué la conclusion fructueuse de la médiation des Nations Unies qui, depuis 2008, visait à trouver une solution mutuellement acceptable au différend frontalier entre les deux pays afin de le soumettre à la Cour internationale de Justice.
Le Secrétaire général a félicité les deux parties d’avoir fait preuve de leadership politique, de courage et de sagesse pour parvenir à ce compromis historique, conforme à l’esprit et à la lettre de la Charte des Nations Unies. Il a également remercié les parties de leur excellente coopération avec le point focal pour le différend, Monsieur Jeffrey Feltman, Secrétaire général adjoint pour les Affaires politiques, ainsi qu’avec son prédécesseur, Monsieur Nicolas Michel.
Le Secrétaire général a exprimé l’espoir que le règlement de ce différend frontalier de longue date puisse être une source d’inspiration pour d’autres pays confrontés à des défis similaires en démontrant qu’une résolution pacifique et par des voies légales est possible.
Le Secrétaire général a encouragé le Président Obiang Nguema Mbasogo et le Président Bongo Ondimba à continuer à renforcer les relations bilatérales entre leurs deux pays et a réaffirmé l’engagement de l’Organisation des Nations Unies à contribuer à la promotion de la paix et de la stabilité régionales, notamment par l’intermédiaire du Bureau régional des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique centrale (UNOCA) basé à Libreville.

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El Secretario General convocó el día de hoy una ceremonia de firma en los márgenes de los CP-22 en Marrakech, Reino de Marruecos, con el Presidente de la República de Guinea Ecuatorial, el Excelentísimo Sr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo y el Presidente de la República Gabonesa, su excelencia el Excelentísimo Sr. Ali Bongo Ondimba. La ceremonia marcó la conclusión exitosa de la mediación de las Naciones Unidas, la cual comenzó en 2008 con el objetivo de encontrar una solución mutuamente aceptable sobre la controversia fronteriza entre los dos países con el fin de someterla a la Corte Internacional de justicia.
El Secretario General felicitó a ambas partes por el liderazgo político, la valentía y la sabiduría que demostraron al llegar a este acuerdo histórico, en conformidad al espíritu y la letra de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas. También agradeció a las partes por su excelente cooperación con el punto focal en la disputa fronteriza, el Sr. Jeffrey Feltman, Secretario General Adjunto para Asuntos Políticos, así como con su predecesor, el Sr. Nicolas Michel.
El Secretario General expresó la esperanza de que la solución de esta larga disputa fronteriza llegue a ser una fuente de inspiración para otros países que enfrentan dificultades similares, demostrando que la solución pacífica a través de mecanismos legales es posible.
El Secretario General alentó al Presidente Obiang y al Presidente Bongo Ondimba a que sigan fortaleciendo las relaciones bilaterales entre sus dos países y reafirmó el compromiso de las Naciones Unidas de seguir apoyando la promoción de la paz y la estabilidad regionales, en particular mediante la Oficina regional de las Naciones Unidas para África Central (UNOCA) con sede en Libreville.

António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation

António Guterres of Portugal. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

13 October 2016 – The General Assembly today appointed by acclamation the former Foreign Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on 31 December.

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 become the world’s top diplomat on 1 January 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.

Adopting a consensus resolution put forward by its President, Peter Thomson, the Assembly acted on the recommendation on the UN Security Council, which on 6 October forwarded Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-member body as its nominee for UN Secretary-General for a five-year period, ending 31 December 2021.

Ten years to the day after his own appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban said: “Secretary-General-elect Guterres is well known to all of us in the hall. But he is perhaps best known where it counts most: on the frontlines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering,” referring to his time as head of the UN refugee agency.

Noting that he has long valued his advice, and long admired his spirit of service, Mr. Ban declared: “He is a wonderful choice to steer this Organization as we build on the progress of the past decade, while addressing the insecurity and uncertainties of today’s world.”

Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), also congratulated Mr. Guterres on his election, saying that the Secretary-General-designate “is a strong humanitarian advocate and a successful leader,” and that he looks forward to working with him.

The Assembly’s resolution also welcomed the historic process Member States set in motion late last year: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world’s top diplomatic post.

These so-called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

In addition, this past July, the UN held its first-ever globally televised and webcast townhall-style debate in the General Assembly Hall, where the confirmed candidates at the time took questions from diplomats and the public at large.

Portugal’s António Guterres emerges as favourite for next UN Secretary-General

António Guterres, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, addresses Member States regarding his candidacy for Secretary-General. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

5 October 2016 – Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Security Council presidency for the month, informed the President of the Assembly, Peter Thomson, that the sixth informal “straw poll” for the position of Secretary-General took place earlier today and António Guterres emerged as the clear favourite among the Council’s 15 members.

Mr. Churkin said the Council will meet tomorrow (6 October) at 10 a.m. to take a formal vote, which is expected to pass by acclamation, the Assembly President noted. That decision would then be formally submitted to the General Assembly for its consideration.

In addition to Mr. Guterres, who served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, 12 other candidates were in the running to succeed the current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year.

Today’s decision by the Security Council brings the UN closer towards the culmination of an historic process: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world’s top diplomatic post.

These so-called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

In addition, this past July, the UN held its first-ever globally televised and webcast townhall-style debate in the General Assembly Hall, where the confirmed candidates at the time took questions from diplomats and the public at large.

UN Security Council: Antonio Guterres emerges as “clear favourite” to be next Secretary-General

Having referred to the process as “a game changer” for the Organization, the President of the 70th General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft said: “I am very proud that we broke new ground with unique transparency in the selection process. The two-hour presentation of each of the candidates in the General Assembly dialogues, and their collective Global Townhall debate, were important highlights and helped to include the global public in the debate about the future of the UN.”

UN Secretary-General’s remarks at Opening Session of High-Level plenary meeting to address Large movements of Refugees and Migrants-New York, 19 September 2016

CoverToday’s Summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility. More people than ever are on the move. Some flee war; others seek opportunity.
Refugees and migrants are not to be seen a burden; they offer great potential, if only we unlock it. We must place the human rights of all refugees and migrants at the heart of our commitments. When we translate the New York Declaration which we adopt here today into reality: More children can attend school.  
More workers can securely seek jobs abroad, instead of being at the mercy of criminal smugglers. And more people will have real choices about whether to move once we end conflict, sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development advances those goals. The Declaration we will adopt today rallies all partners around collective commitments:
To protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of their status.
To increase support for the hardest-hit countries.
To assist despairing people in protracted crises.
To ensure that children get an education.
To improve search and rescue operations.
And to boost humanitarian funding and resettlement of refugees.

Also today, we will formally bring the International Organization for Migration, IOM, into the United Nations system. This will further strengthen our collective response. Congratulation to IOM! We must change the way we talk about refugees and migrants.  And we must talk with them.  Our words and dialogue matter. That is why today, the United Nations is launching a new campaign called “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” Acting together, we can respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope.

I call on world leaders to join this campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life. This summit shows that we can find common ground. But the summit will have real meaning only if we all honour the promises made here today. With courageous actions to implement the New York Declaration, we will ensure that no refugee or migrant is left behind.

Thank you for your strong commitment and leadership.

UN rights chief warns of violence re-escalating in Central African Republic

655005MINUSCA4 July 2016 – The United Nations human rights chief today warned that the security and human rights situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) may be starting to deteriorate again, after a series a major incidents in the capital of Bangui and rural areas. “While 2016 began on a positive note, with the successful holding of elections in February, recent events in Bangui and in several other parts of the country make me fear a re-escalation of violence in the coming months,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a news release. “There is an urgent need to disarm the armed groups – who remain far too powerful and retain the potential to reignite the conflict – as well as to restore State authority and rule of law, and to ensure the security of all civilians,” he added.

He noted that tensions have been on the rise in Bangui since mid-June between armed elements and soldiers serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in Bangui’s Muslim PK5 neighborhood. Six armed men were killed and some 15 civilians were injured in clashes on 20 June. On the same day, MINUSCA forces intervened to extract CAR and UN police officers from a Commissariat building surrounded by a hostile armed crowd. On 24 June, a Senegalese UN peacekeeper was also killed in Bangui by unidentified armed men.

A number of incidents have also taken place recently in several regions where armed groups continue to exercise control, committing serious human rights violations and preying on the civilian population. In all, clashes outside Bangui involving armed groups, including ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka, resulted in the killing of at least 17 people in June.

To achieve a sustainable peace and reconciliation, security and accountability must be improved, the justice system must be re-established and confidence in State institutions must be restored, Mr. Zeid stressed.

He also expressed his concern at the continuing human rights violations committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the country’s southeast, including large-scale killings, mutilations, abductions, sex-slavery and forced recruitment of child soldiers. He said he was also deeply concerned by credible and deeply worrying allegations of human rights violations and abuses by members of the Ugandan army deployed to the CAR as part of the operation to counter the LRA.

During preliminary investigations, at least 18 women and girls said they were subjected to sexual violence and harassment by members of the Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF). Mr. Zeid said his office has already approached the Ugandan authorities on allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation, abduction and forced marriage, and will continue to follow up this matter with great attention.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Cameroon

Ban-Ki-moonNew York, 30 June 2016

The Secretary-General condemns the suicide attack that took place on 29 June in the far North region of Cameroon. He reiterates that no cause can justify terrorist attacks.

The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and to the Government and people of Cameroon, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

The Secretary-General renews his call on international partners to provide support to the countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin, with the backing of the African Union and the Multinational Joint Task Force, to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram in the sub-region.

United Nations begins informal briefings to select next Secretary-General

General Assembly Seventieth session Informal Dialogues with Candidates for the Position of Secretary-General AM session: Dr. Igor LuksicKicking off what he has called a “new and transparent process,” General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft today opened informal dialogues with candidates for the next United Nations Secretary-General, for the first time providing an opportunity for substantive and open engagement with the candidates – for the full UN membership and the public.

“We are sailing into uncharted waters here,” said Mr. Lykketoft addressing the press ahead of the start of the informal dialogues. Calling the process a “potential game-changing exercise,” he said the informal briefings were part of a “very transparent, very interesting discussion about the future of the United Nations.”

Over the course of the next three days, the official candidates – currently eight of them – will answer questions related to promoting sustainable development, how to improve efforts to create peace, how to protect human rights, how to deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes, and how to resolve challenges defined by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the end of the process, Mr. Lykketoft said, expressing his personal view, one single candidate could emerge, making it difficult for the Security Council – which is tasked with making the official selection, as stated in the UN Charter – to choose another candidate.
Defining some of the qualities in who would be the “best person” for the job, Mr. Lykketoft stressed independence, strong moral authority, great political and diplomatic skills, and some experience in being at the head of a huge administration.

As part of the informal dialogues, each candidate will have a televised and webcast two-hour timeslot, starting with a short oral presentation. Representatives from Member States will then ask questions, followed by the President of the General Assembly, who will ask a few of the more than 1,000 questions submitted by the general public on social media under the hashtag #UNSGcandidates.

The three candidates who will go before the General Assembly today are listed below, in order of appearance. They will present their ‘vision statements,’ which address the challenges and opportunities facing the UN and the next Secretary-General, and answer questions from the audience.

Igor Luksic is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. He is nominated by the Government of Montenegro.
Irina Bokova is currently the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. She is nominated by the Government of Bulgaria.
Antonio Guterres was most recently the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is nominated by the Government of Portugal.
Following their sessions, each candidate will have the opportunity to speak with the press. The events can be followed live on UN WebTV.

Opening the dialogues, Mr. Lykketoft underscored that as the UN grapples with multiple crises and deals with “fundamental questions regarding its own role and performance,” finding the best candidate to succeed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “absolutely crucial.”  “Much of what we are embarking on today is without precedent at the UN,” he stressed. “For the first time in this Organization’s 70-year history, the process for selecting and appointing the next Secretary-General is being genuinely guided by principles of transparency and inclusivity – and the dialogues that we are beginning today are at the very core of this change,” he added. Mr. Lykketoft reiterated that candidates will be given the opportunity to respond to Member States’ interventions at regular intervals, with Member States speaking on behalf of groups given priority.

A civil society committee had reviewed all the more than 1,000 questions submitted from 70 countries since 26 February, when the call was opened for civil society to submit questions. The committee had agreed on a shortlist of 30 questions, the General Assembly President said. “The level of interest in these dialogues from the global public and civil society is extraordinary,” he said.

Mr. Lykketoft said that for the purpose of transparency and inclusivity, each candidate will be asked to respond to one or two questions from civil society, time permitting. He also plans to post 10 of the top remaining questions on his website after the dialogues, and encouraged each candidate to answer them in writing.