The UN Secretary-General We Deserve: Towards an Open and Transparent Selection (Geneva)

World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
Event Location: Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
Event Date: 04/13/2016

For the first time in the history of the United Nations, candidates for Secretary-General are running publicly for election. Since the UN’s inception, the permanent five members of the Security Council (China, France, Russian, the United Kingdom and the United States) have chosen the candidate in secrecy and, without exception, the General Assembly has accepted their candidate. However, calls for greater transparency and inclusiveness in the selection process by member states and civil society organizations prevailed. Against this backdrop, our discussion provided an opportunity to reflect on the manner in which the Secretary-General would be chosen, on the changing nature of the office, and on the profile that a successful incumbent at the helm of the world’s most encompassing and most global organization should have.


Simon Chesterman, Dean, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law
Rama Mani, Senior Research Associate of the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford
Thomas Biersteker, Curt Gasteyger Chair in International Security and Conflict Studies, Graduate Institute of Development Studies