What would you ask the next UN Secretary General?

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The election of the next Secretary General of the United Nations is under way. This year, for the first time in the history of the UN, it starts out as a very transparent process, the candidates go public, and all citizens of the world can follow along, even ask them questions.

This is indeed a very positive change and raises hope that after all the UN is capable of renewing and adapting to the new circumstances of the 21st century.

The UN General Assembly has already held a public hearing of the then nine candidates this April in New York City. Actually, there are still the same nine candidates in the ring, although it is still possible to join the competition.

The nine candidates had a televised two hour slot, starting with a brief statement and followed by questions from member states and civil society representatives, as well as questions submitted by the general public on social media. Click here to learn more about these hearings and read the “vision statements” of candidates.

In June, there will be another public hearing in London, where again every one of us can ask questions of the candidates. All you have to do is click here and submit your question, or simply submit your question through social media using the hashtag


You can either select a candidate to whom you would like to address your question, or you can choose to address your question to all nine of them. I choose the latter and submitted the following question:

Many times financial response to humanitarian situations – be it weather events, impacts of conflicts or else –  is not adequate. What can the Secretary General do to pressure member states to contribute more in accordance with their capabilities?

I do consider it a major problem that in general, the financial resources to solve almost all the major crises of the world are available, yet problems are not solved due to financial difficulties. Of course the management of huge funds is not at all easy, but the UN does have the resources (human, political, organizational, etc.) to address this problem. This is also a question of transforming the UN into a modern organization that is capable of responding the needs of our times, and whether the new UN Secretary General will be able to lead this transformation.

Needless to say, I consider this new selection process a major development and I am very eager to take part in it. Why of course we (the peoples of the United Nations) will not be able to elect the new Secretary General directly, these questions do help to have a better understanding of each candidate’s experiences and vision, and hopefully will help world leaders to choose the best candidate.

To learn more about the process and the candidates, please visit http://www.1for7billion.org/.

To submit your question before the London hearing on 3 June, please visit http://www.unngls.world/.

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