Closing remarks on Informal dialogues with the candidates for the position of Secretary General

Closing remarks by Mr. Morgens Lykketoft,  President of the 70th session of UN General Assembly on informal dialogues with the candidates for the position of next Secretary General

©UN Photo


7 June 2016, New York


Excellencies, allow me to make a few concluding remarks before adjourning this meeting.


First, I would like to thank the two candidates for the their engagement here today and for responding so openly to the many questions posed by the membership.


They have done themselves proud and deserve our sincere appreciation.


I would also like to thank you, the membership, for maintaining the spirit of engagement you displayed in the April dialogues.


You demonstrated once again the capacity of this Assembly to play an important role in this process, as you foresaw when adopting last year’s landmark resolution on GA Revitalization.


We have now interviewed the 11 candidates presented thus far.


Obviously as we are already in June, any additional candidates should be presented as quickly as possible.


And, needless to say, any such candidate should engage in an informal dialogue with the full membership.


Anything less would be unfair to the other candidates and, would not, I imagine, prove particularly popular with this Assembly.


In any case, it is clear that we are now entering into a different phase in this process.


As you are all aware, Resolution 69/321 does not provide me with an explicit mandate to take the temperature of the entire membership on the candidates presented thus far, via a straw-poll of the GA, as has been suggested by some Members.


At the same time, the dialogues themselves have, I believe, served to shine a light on what it is that the membership is looking for in the next Secretary-General.


You are looking for a strong, independent and courageous Secretary-General who will make full use of the powers provided for in the UN Charter.


You would most certainly welcome the first ever female Secretary-General and, more broadly, a person who is committed to ensuring that this organization both promotes and embodies gender equality at all levels.


And finally, you are looking for a candidate who has the skills to transform this Organization’s tools, capacities and culture – so as to respond to today’s peace and security challenges; to drive forward implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement; to ensure greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to give due priority to the world’s most vulnerable countries and peoples.


In time, I will convey these and other reflections, as well as possible lessons learned from this process, to the Security Council.


Indeed, notwithstanding my intention to continue to organize further informal dialogues as required, in many ways much of the responsibility for moving this process forward now shifts to the Council.


It is up to the Council’s members to meet the demands expressed by the General Assembly through these dialogues, to build on the openness and fairness of this process, and to fulfil their responsibility under the UN Charter.


I look forward to hearing how they intend to progress over the coming months and I expect that the Council will keep the Assembly fully briefed as it moves forward.


In the end, the process will of course return to the General Assembly for the actual appointment, and it is up to the Security Council to ensure that when it does, its recommendation strengthen not undermine the relationship between these two critical Organs.


And it will help the membership secure the best possible candidate to lead this Organization.


Thank you.

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