UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations Security Council will present its recommendation to the next secretary-general this month, and with current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres being the only candidate, his selection for a second term is certain, the current council president said Tuesday.
Estonia’s ambassador Sven Jorgensen, council president for June, said at a press conference that while there was only one candidate, “the process remains the same” – the 15-member Security Council should make a recommendation to the general’s 193 members. Assembly that must be approved by the next Secretary-General.
Traditionally, candidates are nominated by a UN member state, but this is not a requirement in the UN Charter or resolution.
Guterres, whose current five-year term ends on December 31, was nominated by Portugal, his home country. But this year has also seen seven individuals submit applications for the position of Secretary-General without the support of any government, including recently the former Ecuadorean President Rosalia Arteaga.
Last month, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said the “rule” is that an applicant can become a candidate only when a letter jointly signed by the heads of the Assembly and the Security Council is sent to all member states.
“The Security Council appears to have the view that, traditionally, only applicants supported by a state can become a candidate,” he said, so the only joint letter was sent on behalf of Guterres.
Jurgenson took note of the other requests but assured reporters on Tuesday that “only states can legally and formally submit candidates,” and Guterres is the only candidate.
He said the selection would be made during Estonia’s presidency, describing it as a “very important event”.
Jorgensen described the process, saying the Security Council would hold a special session and adopt a statement on the discussion and results. He said that a draft resolution to select the council will then be circulated, and it is hoped that it will be adopted by acclamation although any member can call for a vote.
Jorgensen said he would then send the resolution to the president of the association by letter, and Bozkir would then decide when to hold a meeting of the general assembly to adopt the recommendation. “Hopefully this will all happen very soon, in a week or so,” he said.
Jurgenson said he plans to meet with Bozkir on Thursday, and it is likely that the timetable for the selection will be decided at that time.
Prior to Guterres’ election, the assembly adopted a resolution in 2015 that made the previously largely secret selection of the Secretary-General more open and transparent. It allowed the world organization’s member states for the first time to see basic information about all candidates, including their CVs, and to meet and interview them in open sessions.
Guterres laid out his vision for a second term as UN chief on May 7, calling for “a surge in diplomacy for peace,” urging nations to avoid a new kind of Cold War, and saying that in the 21st century, everything from the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation and a rollback of Human rights are interlinked.
He painted a bleak picture of a world in which more and more people live inside their own echo chambers…(and) tempted by misinformation, populism, extremism, xenophobia and racism.
Guterres reiterated his warning about “a new geostrategic divide and dysfunctional power relations, which are making international cooperation infinitely more difficult at a time when we need it most.”
But he also stressed his strong belief that nations work together to solve crises and conflicts in the world. He said that multilateralism “relies to a large extent on building trust among member states, and on establishing a functional relationship between major powers.”
Guterres then answered questions from several ambassadors and received support for a second term from two major groups – the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement primarily from developing countries and the 27-member European Union – as well as smaller groups and individual countries.