PRESS RELEASE: Candidates for position of next UN Secretary-General to take part in Townhall

Press Release


Candidates for position of next UN Secretary-General to take part in globally televised Townhall event

12 July 2016, UN Headquarters in New York



UNITED NATIONS, New York, 11 July 2016 – For the first time, candidates for the position of next Secretary-General will take part in a globally televised and webcast event in the General Assembly Hall and take questions from diplomats and the public at large.


Entitled: “Leading the United Nations: A Global Townhall with UN Secretary-General candidates”, the event will take place on Tuesday, 12 July 2016, from 6.00p.m – 9.00p.m EST and be webcast and broadcast live by UN TV and Al Jazeera Media Network across multiple broadcast and social media channels.


“In the past, UN Secretaries-General have been chosen behind closed doors. This time, we want  to ensure all UN member states and the entire world have a chance to know who the candidates are, what their vision is and see how they perform,”  said the President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft .”This Townhall is another way to enhance public interest in the mission and work of the United Nations and the need for the best possible candidate for our next Secretary-General.”


Ten of the 12 official candidates, nominated by their governments to take over at the helm of the UN Secretariat when current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon leaves at the end of the year, will be engaged in a wide-ranging 60-minute discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the organization. They will each be given the opportunity at the start to make their case for the job and explain their vision.


The General Assembly Hall’s 1,900 seats are expected to be filled to capacity with ambassadors, diplomats, UN staff, journalists and leaders from business and civil society. UN-accredited journalists are also invited to film and record from the media booths.


The 10-confirmed candidates will be split into two groups of five (determined by draw of lots) for a one-hour discussion and Q and A led by moderators James Bays and Folly Bah Thibault from Al Jazeera English. Questions to the candidates from Member States and the global public will come from the floor and via video from around the world.


Both UN Television and Al Jazeera will provide broadcast feeds and UN Web TV will stream the event live online and on mobile devices at  Al Jazeera will broadcast, stream and report across its global broadcast and digital platforms.


This Townhall event is distinct from the UN General Assembly mandated two-hour informal dialogues with candidates that have taken place over the past few months and that will continue to be held as further candidates are presented. The next one of those will be on Thursday 14 July at 11am EST when Christiana Figueres will take her turn.




First group: Vesna Pusić (Croatia), António Guterres (Portugal) Susana Malcorra (Argentina), Vuk Jeremic (Serbia) and Natalia Gherman (Moldova).

Second group: Helen Clark (New Zealand), Danilo Turk (Slovenia), Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica), Igor Lukšić (Montenegro) and Irina Bokova (Bulgaria).

The two candidates unable to attend the event in New York are Srgjan Kerim (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Miroslav Lajčák (Slovak Republic). However, both have been invited to send video messages that can be used in the event.

What:                    Global Townhall with UN Secretary-General candidates

When:                    12 July 2016, 6pm – 9pm EST

Where:                  General Assembly Hall UN Headquarters, New York and live webcast through and via Al Jazeera across its global broadcast and digital platforms

Hashtags:             #UNSGcandidates #AJUNdebate


For UN Media Accreditation, please visit:




Dan Thomas, Communications Director & Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, T: +1 917 225 1913 | E:


Note to Broadcasters:

UNTV and Al Jazeera will offer (gratis) the live feed to other media carriers throughout the world including the broadcasters in all countries that have nominated candidates.  UN Web TV can provide live embed codes to the Media. Please contact: Broadcasters wanting to get the UNTV feed can contact David Woodie or Martin Redi


Al Jazeera will be offering the distribution of their feed, please email or call on +974 3383 6947.


For more information on the event, please visit website: .

More information about the process to select the next Secretary-General can be found at and follow the PGA on Twitter at @UN_PGA

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