UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan is supporting proposals to break with tradition by giving the General Assembly a more assertive role in the selection and appointment of the UN Secretary-General, a process in which the Security Council has dominant influence.
Speaking in a meeting of the UN panel tasked with revitalising the work of the 193-member Assembly, Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said it was important that the world’s top diplomat should enjoy the confidence and support of all member states.
A candidate for secretary-general is chosen in secret by the Security Council and then recommended for approval by the General Assembly. But each of the five big powers in the council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - can veto a candidate, killing his or her chances of going before the Assembly.
“The position and the wide-ranging role and responsibilities of the secretary general, as statesman, top diplomat, advocate and chief administrative officer, are important for the entire UN membership, not just the Security Council...”, the Pakistani envoy said, while advocating better coordination between the Assembly and the Council.
In this regard, he underscored the need for evolving consensus in the process of UN chief’s appointment requiring inclusiveness, transparency and interaction.
“The General Assembly should not be there to rubber stamp a decision already taken,” Masood Khan said, while speaking in a debate on ‘Role and Responsibility of the General Assembly in the Appointment of the Secretary General.’
“Apparently the recommendation by the Security Council is not exclusive; but well established practice would belie that interpretation,” he said.
“The challenge is to ensure that the recommendation and the appointment are not isolated acts; but part of a process which is underpinned by participation and ownership of both the principal organs and of all member states.”
In fact, he expressed the view that neither the recommendation nor the appointment can or should be made without proper consultation and interaction. “This would require increased cooperation and coordination between the Assembly and the Council.”|
Referring to an Assembly resolution proposing sufficient time for interaction of candidates for the post of UN chief with member states, Masood Khan said “We can take a start by putting this provision into practice ahead of the next appointment of the Secretary General.”
Masood Khan added “The process of consideration of the candidatures by the Security Council should be guided and informed by this prior interaction and sense of the house in the General Assembly.
“A recommendation emanating from such a process and the appointment by the Assembly on that basis would have fulfilled the requirement of inclusiveness and ownership, while also accomplishing this task with consensus and acclamation, which is the desired and the best way of doing it.”