Joint Letter Officially Released

press conference with mogens lykketoft

The long-awaiting joint letter on the selection of the next United Nations Secretary General was released today, officially kicking off the search. Mogen Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, announced the letter’s release at a press conference at the UN this afternoon.

Described by one journalist at the press conference as “very mild… not very revolutionary,” the text reflects the important but modest improvements that were urged by the General Assembly in Resolution 69/321. There is no mention of a deadline for nominations, a single term or multiple nominees, as some have urged. But the joint letter itself represents an critical reform. As noted by the 1 for 7 Billion coalition, its release

“…marks the first time in UN history that the selection process has a clear and public start date, and the first time that detailed criteria have been suggested for candidates to fulfill.” 

It’s release officially opens the selection process and call for nominations. Though a number of individuals are known to be interested in running, Mr. Lykketoft noted only two nominees anticipated the process and submitted formal letters of nominations — Dr.  Vesna Pusić of Croatia, and Dr. Srgjan Kerim of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The expected frontrunner Dr. Irina Bokova has not been endorsed by the Bulgarian government, which faces a choice between Bokovo and fellow Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva. According to Ambassador Andrej Logar of Slovenia, we can also now expect Danielo Türk to formally announce with the release of the joint letter, among others.

(Transcript below, or open PDF in separate window here.)


15 December 2015


In line with General Assembly resolution 69/321, this joint letter serves to begin soliciting
candidates and to set in motion the process of selecting and appointing the next United Nations Secretary-General, in accordance with the provisions of Article 97 of the Charter of the United Nations and guided by the principles of transparency and inclusivity.

The position of Secretary-General is one of great importance that requires the highest standards of eff!ciency, competence and integrity, and a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. We invite candidates to be presented with proven leadership and managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations, and strong diplomatic, communication and multilingual skills.

Convinced of the need to guarantee equal opportunities for women and men in gaining access to senior deciSIon-making positions, Member States are encouraged to consider presenting women, as well as men, as candidates for the position of Secretary-General. We note the regional diversity in the selection of previous Secretaries-General.

Noting that some candidates have already emerged, we invite Member States presenting
candidates to do so in a letter to the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council. The Presidents of the General Assembly and of the Security Council will
jointly circulate to all Member States, on an ongoing basis, the names of individuals that have
been submitted for consideration.

The President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council will offer
candidates opportunities for informal dialogues or meetings with the members of their respective bodies, while noting that any such interaction will be without prejudice to those who do not participate. These can take place before the Council begins its selection by the end of July 2016 and may continue throughout the process of selection.

Early presentation of candidates will help the Council’s deliberations; nonetheless, this should
not preclude others from making themselves known throughout the process, as appropriate. The Council plans to make its recommendation to the General Assembly in a timely manner so that the appointment by the General Assembly allows the newly appointed Secretary-General sufficient time to prepare for the job.

Please accept, Excellencies, the assurances of our highest consideration.

H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft
President of the General Assembly

H.E. Ms. Samantha Power
President of the Security Council

About the Author

Tony Fleming

Tony is a communications and advocacy professional with over 20 years of experience in multilateral reform advocacy and online communications.

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