Program Areas

Program Areas

Better procedures needed for appointing top UN positions, NGOs say

Flag in front of the UN's headquarters in New York. Image: Sergey-73/ Licensed for use on this website.

According to a statement signed by over 40 civil society groups, including Amnesty International, CIVICUS and Human Rights Watch, the people “have a right to know who is exercising the power vested in the United Nations, and how they got there.” The appointment of senior UN leaders had to be “inclusive, merit-based and transparent”, the non-governmental organizations, or NGOs in short, said.

The appointment of senior UN leaders needs to be inclusive, merit-based and transparent

“This is essential not only for the credibility – and therefore effectiveness – of the mandate-holder and the UN, but to help find the world’s most qualified leaders without discrimination on the basis of their nationality or background. Given the challenges humanity is facing, the world cannot afford anything less”, the document goes on.

The statement was initiated by the United Nations Association-UK, the Brazilian group Plataforma CIPÓ and the consulting service Strategy for Humanity who in the previous year formed a working group “to shine a light on elections and appointments to senior positions within the United Nations”.

The document elaborates on ten principles which “should guide senior appointments at the United Nations and how states engage with appointment processes” in order for them to be “fair, inclusive, transparent appointments for UN senior leaders”. Appointments thus should be fair and human rights-centred, inclusive, diverse, gender sensitive, transparent, free from monopolies, free from lobbying, based on merit and not on state affiliation, stakeholder inclusive and a mainstreamed process with the same standards applying throughout the UN system.

The statement was sent to UN Secretary-General António Guterres urging him to put these principles into practice. Democracy Without Borders is among the signatories as well.