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Remarks by Ms Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN on behalf of the ACT Group at the informal meeting of the General Assembly on the facilitation process and elements for the resolution appointing the Secretary-General

29.08.2016

On behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group, comprised of 25 Member States from all regions, I would like to thank you sincerely for convening today´s meeting. We would also like to once again commend the President of the General Assembly, HE Mr Mogens Lykketoft, for his dedication to this historic process of selecting the next Secretary-General and are looking forward to the upcoming president, HE Mr Peter Thomson to continue in the same vein.

Already in May, ACT group sent a letter to the President of the General Assembly asking for a facilitation process for the appointment resolution of the next Secretary-General to be put in place. Following a similar letter from the Non-Aligned Movement in June, the current PGA has expressed his interest to appoint facilitators to this end and has tasked the Ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly to take stock of the views of Member States. Although we would have liked to see this facilitation process start earlier – before the straw polls in the Security Council – we believe it is high time to discuss all potential elements of the resolution on merit.

The ACT group has consistently advocated for a more transparent and inclusive selection and appointment process of the Secretary-General and for the General Assembly to play its rightful role foreseen for it under the Charter, including its prerogative to draft the final resolution for the appointment of the Secretary-General. We believe that the General Assembly process so far has been very encouraging and that it is important to continue and affirm this with the current facilitation. In this regard, the ACT group – concurring with the views expressed by the PGA – calls upon the Security Council to live up to the expectations of the general membership concerning the new standard of openness and transparency on the selection process and the results of straw polls.

ACT group continues – in this process as before – to advocate for the best qualified person, emerging out of a fair and transparent selection process, to be appointed by the General Assembly as the next Secretary-General.

In our view key elements for substantiating the appointment resolution could include relevant Charter provisions and General Assembly´s expectations of the next Secretary-General.

As it is the prerogative of the General Assembly to determine the length and renewability of the term in office of the Secretary-General, we would like member states to take an informed decision on the matter. Many states, including some ACT members, have yet to finalize their position with regard to the term of office and its renewability. We believe that the negotiation process of the appointment resolution is the ideal platform for all UN member states to debate the pros and cons of all possible options. In this regard, we would like to recall that one of the options discussed is to appoint the next Secretary-General for a single non-renewable term.  

Furthermore, we would like to emphasize in the appointment resolution the importance of exercising independence by the Secretary-General in selecting senior officials in line with the Charter provisions and the oath taken by the Secretary-General.

Additional elements in the appointment resolution could deal with questions related to gender and regional representation. We encourage further discussion on suggestions for ensuring gender balance, as well as fair geographical distribution through a rotation system.

Although already quite late in the process, it is important that there will be sufficient time for the General Assembly to draft the appointment resolution in a transparent and consultative manner and to be able to adopt it by consensus.  

We are looking forward to hearing the views of other groups and member states and to learn more about which elements delegations wish to include in the appointment resolution.

I thank you very much for your attention.

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