Leading the world’s most important international organization is not an easy task. This is an election we should all pay close attention to.
Let’s take a moment to grasp everything the world is going through today: we have wars in most of the middle east, extreme poverty in many parts of Africa, an influx of refugees begging to be let into Europe, and not to mention a delusional terrorist organization that is nauseatingly savage and threating to destroy everything that stands in their way. So many people in this world in agony and suffering waiting for some kind of relief.
Now take a moment to realize how vital the role of being United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) for today’s international community is. The UNSG’s job basically is to ensure that the UN’s 5 goals are met: maintaining international security and peace, promoting sustainable development, upholding international law, protecting human rights, and delivering humanitarian aid. A responsibility that many of the events listed above make extremely difficult. It is a demanding job and the person that holds this office is expected to uphold all UN values while having the well-being of the international community at heart.
In January 2016, the race for a new UNSG began and the person standing at the end of this race will be held accountable for every action they take to address the international community’s needs. According to an analysis conducted by The Diplomatic Courier, the front-runner for the position is Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova, the current head of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). If she does become UNSG, it will be the first time a candidate from Eastern Europe holds this position, and more importantly the first time in the UN’s 70 years will its chief be a woman.
The question some of you might be asking yourselves by now is, why is it important for me to know who the next UNSG is? This is why. The world today is not simply made up of sovereign states that have complete authority to do as they please, with no regard for other states. Every decision that is made on a national level for any country is carefully watched by neighboring states and the international community as a whole. Maintaining international alliances and avoiding international conflicts is as important to the sustainability of a state as its internal policy. As an individual, what this means for you and me is that whatever happens around us or even on another continent can very well affect us right at home. Everything and everyone is connected, and that is precisely why the UN exists and why the UNSG’s role is so vital. He/she must insure that all conflicts raised to the Security Council and General Assembly are addressed in a way that is beneficial for the international community, while also focusing on all the other aspects the UN manages.
Some of those aspects are the funds and programs that fall under the UN. A few examples are, the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), which focuses on the challenges that prevent development such as poverty, energy and environment issues. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) provides assistance for children and their mothers in crisis-stricken countries. The UNHCR (United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees) protects refugees worldwide and provides them with the aid their countries failed to make available. These initiatives are helping people all over the world on a daily basis. The UNSG is responsible for leading the people in charge of each of these UN systems. To hope for a better future for this world, to hope for further advances in eradicating poverty, stabilizing failed states and eliminating terrorists, we must hope that the next UNSG will be a powerful strong leader that will guide the international community to a more peaceful and stable path.
Informal dialogues between the candidates and UN member states occurred in April. The final selection of UNSG candidates carried out by the Security Council will take place in July.
- Ruet, J. (2016, January 7). The Race for the Next UN Secretary-General: Which Candidate Fits the Profile? Retrieved from Diplomatic Courier: http://www.diplomaticourier.com/2016/01/07/the-race-for-the-next-un-secretary-general-which-candidate-fits-the-profile/
- UN Non-govermental Liason Service. (2016). Retrieved from UNNGLS: http://www.unngls.world/
- United Nations . (2016). Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Others. Retrieved from United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/sections/about-un/funds-programmes-specialized-agencies-and-others/index.html