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The recruitment process of the new UN Secretary General

21 April 2006

Letter to H.E. Ambassador Wang Guangya, Permanent Representative of the People's
Republic of China to the UN and President of the United Nations Security Council,
21 April, 2006

Dear Mr President,

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has had a long and historic relationship
with the United Nations and at this crucial time we ask you now to consider
the importance of developing a transparent, accountable and inclusive recruitment
process for filling the post of UN Secretary General.

For over 60 years, the WCC has supported the vision and mission of the UN
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to affirm fundamental
human rights, to establish the basic conditions for justice and the rule of law, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. People
of faith were involved at the very beginning of the UN. They helped shape this
vision then even as they help fulfill it now.

At the recent WCC General Assembly in Brazil, some 4000 participants from
churches in 150 countries adopted a Statement on UN Reform to reinforce the
support of the churches for an effective and accountable international governance
system through the UN. Your missions have all received this statement from the
WCC-CCIA UN office in New York. A key part of the WCC Assembly statement
on UN reform recognizes that the effectiveness of the UN depends on
accountable, inclusive and democratic decision-making processes and that transparency
is a crucial part of this.

Throughout the history of the UN the Secretary General's leadership as chief
administrative officer, diplomat, mediator and representative of the UN principles
is unparalleled. Successive Secretary-Generals have not only played a fundamental
role in shaping and leading the work of the United Nations, but have provided
a critical public voice on the key issues of peace and security, development,
and human rights.

In the past years, international organizations, including the UN and in our
own case the WCC, have developed basic procedural mechanisms to enhance the
transparency and accountability of high-level international appointments. As
Member States call for a wide range of reforms to enhance the accountability and
transparency of the United Nations, it is only logical that they apply the same
principles to the selection of the Secretary General. We would therefore like to
offer the following principles for your consideration in the selection process:

1. Formal Candidate Qualifications: In accordance with the basic standards
of other high-level international public sector appointments, the UN should establish
a formal set of candidate qualifications to guide Member States in putting
forward qualified candidates, assessing the relative competencies of the candidates
and to guarantee that the selected candidate adequately fulfills the many
roles and functions of the UN Secretary General. Qualifications that should be
taken into consideration can include:

a) Comprehensive understanding of and demonstrated commitment to the
purposes and principles of the UN Charter and true internationalism,
including, but not limited to, international law and multilateralism.

b) Comprehensive understanding of and demonstrated commitment to the
three pillars of the UN system: peace and security, development and human

c) Extensive experience with the UN system or other complex international
organizations, including diplomatic and communication skills and demonstrated
vision and leadership, in accordance with the principles of independence,
fairness, and impartiality.

d) Multicultural understanding, gender sensitivity and proven openness to
working with civil society and other relevant stakeholders.

2. Official Timetable with Systematic Reporting: The UN should establisha set timetable for nominations, shortlists and final selection accompaniedby systematic reporting at each phase, as applied by other international organizations,to provide a more structured, transparent and accountable framework forthe selection process.3. Procedures for Assessment of Candidates: The UN should establishprocedures that enhance the transparency of the selection process to facilitate thedissemination of basic information necessary for an adequate assessment of candidatesby all relevant parties.4. Gender and Geographic Diversity Considerations: Based on the values,principles and priorities of the United Nations, it is important that, in additionto ensuring that candidates meet a number of key qualifications, the selectionprocess be guided by the principles of gender equality and geographic balance.We believe these procedures reflect crucial and realistic reforms based on thecurrent UN format for good practice in international high-level appointmentsand calls from Security Council members themselves to enhance the accountabilityof the UN's management and leadership framework. We recognize that whileany or all candidates may not meet the full range of qualifications and diversityconsiderations, it is important that the process take all factors into account.Full reform of selection procedures for the UN Secretary General is a processthat will take time, but we urge the Security Council to initiate these basic reformsnow prior to choosing this key world leader.Yours sincerely,Rev. Dr Samuel KobiaGeneral Secretary