Архив за етикет: UN

Bokova Seeks First Female UN Chief Job as Initial Voting Starts

  • Security Council took  take a secret, informal vote on Thursday

  • Bulgaria’s Bokova is one of six women in running to lead UN

    By Kambiz FOROOHAR, Bloomberg

Seven years ago, Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova became the first woman and Eastern European to lead the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Now she wants to be the UN’s first female Secretary-General.

Bokova, 64, has the pedigree for the job: Before joining UNESCO, she was a two-time member of parliament and former ambassador to France. She studied at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Harvard University. She speaks five languages. And in an institution that prizes “geographic balance,” Bokova hails from a region officials say is due for the leadership spot in a year in which female candidates are being actively sought for the job.

It still might not be enough.

Richard Gowan, a UN scholar at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says behind-the-scenes opposition to Bokova by the U.K. and U.S. – part of a diplomatic tit-for-tat with Russia – may doom her candidacy.

“Bokova may not do as well as expected a few months ago,” Gowan said. “The U.S. and U.K. have been pretty openly against her, due to her alleged ties to Russia, and have most likely been working on other Security Council members to discourage her.”
Best Candidate

An official at the U.K.’s Mission to the UN, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing discussions, said the country doesn’t reveal its voting intentions and wants the best candidate for the job. Officials at the U.S. and Russian missions to the UN didn’t respond to requests for comment.

With Ban Ki-Moon ending his second five-year term in December, the next UN chief will struggle to address issues including a failing peace process in Syria, malnutrition in Nigeria, climate change and sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear program. Internally, the Secretary-General will help manage a $13 billion budget while facing demands to fix a peacekeeping program that oversees 105,000 troops worldwide and has been plagued by repeated allegations of sexual assault.

“The biggest challenge is to reform the UN but not to break it,” Bokova said in a July 19 interview in New York. “The role of the Secretary-General is to work with the permanent members of Security Council, with member states, to reconcile different views.”
Secret Ballot

Her next hurdle comes Thursday, when the Security Council holds a secret, informal vote that will help determine which candidates get weeded out and which remain under consideration.

While the UN has made the process of choosing its next leader a public affair so far – initial interviews were broadcast live and included questions sent from online viewers as well as diplomats – the five permanent members of the Security Council have final say.

Asked about her chances, Bokova smiled and said elections are unpredictable but “if I didn’t think I had a chance, I wouldn’t be here.”

Besides Bokova, the others vying to be the first female Secretary-General are former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who heads the UN Development Programme; Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra; Croatia’s Vesna Pusic; Moldova’s Natalia Gherman; and Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres.
‘Somebody to Lead’

In a total field of 12 candidates, Bokova offered herself as the person who could best reach out to rival countries at the Security Council to gently reform the world body.

“The Security Council members want somebody to lead, not someone who is silent all the time,” she said.

Asked to cite some priority issues she’d be expected to deal with, Bokova focused on peacekeeping operations and renewed fighting between rival factions in South Sudan two years after the country’s last civil war ended. UN peacekeepers have been unable to stop the fighting or protect refugees and internally-displaced Sudanese from ethnic killings.

“The situation in South Sudan is grim and we need to ask why do countries go back into conflicts?” Bokova said. “The UN should try to settle these issues and strengthen the political missions to help democracy and transformation of young countries.”
October Decision

In Thursday’s vote, Security Council members will be given a ballot for each candidate with the options of “encourage,” “discourage” and “no opinion.” After the voting, the council will tally the ballots and inform the nominating states of the results for their candidates.

If history is a guide, after repeated rounds of voting, the five permanent members – France, China, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. – will have to jointly agree on a candidate. Diplomats say the council expects to reach a decision by October.

Born into a political family with close ties to the Bulgarian communist party, Bokova was also a member until 1990, when the party’s name was changed to the Bulgarian Socialist Party. She cited the largely peaceful transitions in Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War as another asset for taking on a job that requires the skills of a peacemaker.

“East Europeans went through a peaceful revolution,” Bokova said. “Because we lived through it, we don’t realize that it was extraordinary but our experience is a lesson, an advantage. ”

Source: Bloomberg

July 21, 2016

Жан-Мишел Жар, Клаудия Кардинале и други знаменитости подкрепят Бокова за ООН

Изтъкнати френски политици, общественици, интелектуалци и дипломати са сред членовете на Комитета, създаден във Франция в подкрепа на кандидатурата на Ирина Бокова, генерален директор на ЮНЕСКО, за поста генерален секретар на ООН.

Председателката на Комитета в подкрепа на Ирина Бокова за генерален секретар на ООН Елен Карер д’Анкос, пожизнен председател на Френската Академия на науките и посланикът на България във Франция и постоянен представител в ЮНЕСКО Ангел Чолаков

Комитетът се оглавява от Елен Карер д’Анкос, пожизнен председател на Френската Академия на науките, и в него фигурират известни имена като  бившата  и единствена досега жена министър-председател на Франция Едит Кресон, бившият генерален секретар на Съвета на Европа и бивш зам.-председател на Европейския парламент Катрин Лалюмиер, бившата министърка на културата и комуникацията Кристин Арбанел, Ксавие Даркос – френски политик и бивш министър на труда, Бариза Киари – член на Сената, известната интелектуалка Джулия Кръстева, френският банкер и филантроп Ерик дьо Ротшилд, индустриалецът и меценат Пиер Берже, Ив Копен – антрополог, Ян Артрус-Бертран – френски фотограф и журналист, Жан Мишел Жар, Клаудия Кардинале и други.

На срещата на Комитета в Париж, Елен Карер д’Анкос, подчерта високата ерудиция на Ирина Бокова, богатия й професионален опит в международните отношения и стремежа й за установяване на нов хуманизъм на 21-ви век във всички области на човешкото развитие. „Днес ООН се нуждае от лидер като Ирина Бокова“, каза Елен Карер д’Анкос.

Посланикът на България във Франция и постоянен представител в ЮНЕСКО Ангел Чолаков изтъкна приноса на Ирина Бокова за укрепване на Организацията и действията й в поредица от кризисни ситуации. „Ирина Бокова има изграден висок международен авторитет и е достоен кандидат за високия пост. Избирането й за генерален секретар на ООН ще издигне престижа на България на световната политическа сцена“, каза в заключение посланикът.
Източник: Гласове

Lose Paternalism and Serve the Local

By Prof.  Vesselin POPOVSKI, Vice Dean of the Law School & Executive Director of the Centre for UN Studies O.P. Jindal Global University, India

Conflict in the 21st century has changed. Rather than a competition between nation states, it is a result of states’ inability to enforce law and order, and local loyalties resurfacing. If the UN is to keep peace in this new context, it needs to realize that local powerbrokers become similarly, if not more important than state actors.


This is a bit radical transition for an institution that traditionally interacted only with states in assemblies and conferences based in capital cities. But there are signs that the UN is recognizing the need to change.

One year ago on 16 June 2015 the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) submitted its report to the UN Secretary-General (SG) proposing four transformational shifts to make peace operations – a synergy of peacekeeping and political missions – more efficient. On 29 June 2015 an Advisory Group of Experts completed a Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.

Both documents appealed for mindset change. One of the deficits listed in the HIPPO report was that the UN ‘often overlooks social mechanisms or informal institutions and networks of mutual assistance that deliver services and enjoy trust at the community level, where women play an important role. Efforts to sustain peace must build upon those institutions and the resilience and reconciliation processes of local communities, and not undermine them.’

Local ownership – already a cliché in the peacebuilding literature for a decade and in the development literature for a quarter of a century – has never materialized, because of two false perceptions. One is that local governments are too weak to govern themselves, let alone coordinate international efforts. The second is that it is impossible to identify which leaders genuinely represent the local needs, thus it is better not to empower anybody before truly free and fair elections. Until such elections the UN will act as a guardian, administer the territory in the best interests of those who live there, and will teach locals what to do. Many still define local ownership simply as a transfer of know-how from the UN to the local societies.

Recent academic research challenged these perceptions and argued that, if the UN maintains its guardianship for too long and the local voices remain unheard, this can severely undermine local capacity and create antagonisms. Severine Autesserre in her book ‘Peaceland’ writes that local actors resist international initiatives not because they oppose the policies, but because they dislike outsiders’ high-minded attitudes and sense of superiority. Paternalistic attitudes, treating local people as stomachs to feed, or as consumers to buy democracy, are counter-productive.

It is high time for the UN to recognize the superiority of the local agents, they are the Formula One drivers of peacebuilding, the UN officers are just the mechanics changing the wheels in the box. The local agents are closer to the problem and are in a better position to understand and influence it, and this proximity ensures that they have long-term interests in the outcomes. This does not mean that local approaches are automatically effective.

Nevertheless, international responses need to be informed by analyses taking local dynamics into account, as this is the level at which modern conflicts increasingly operates. The UN’s responses need to be designed to work with both state and sub-state centers of power. The UN can help only, if local elites want to be helped, but also if peacekeepers are ready to stay patient for as long as it may take. The UN and local elites often operate on different timescales. The latter do not hurry, may ignore abstract lectures on democracy and human rights, and prioritize the delivery of security and basic services to their communities. On the opposite, some UN officers are often impatient, counting the weeks left before their mission ends, thinking about what success can they quickly report in New York to get promotion.

The UN should lose its paternalism and impatience and start thinking of itself as a servant of local people, acknowledging their ideas and priorities. Peacekeepers should be accountable not only to UN auditors, but to the local people too. This hardly ever happened, most evaluations of peacekeeping have been measured against benchmarks based on what the UN thinks is a success, not against what local people think is a success. International bodies are powerful in setting global agendas, but such top down agendas may interrupt local solutions from emerging and produce the opposite of what the UN aims to achieve.

One of the HIPPO’s innovative recommendations worth testing is negotiating ‘compacts’ with host countries, going beyond current status-of-forces agreements. Such compacts would ensure that host governments fully commit to their responsibilities and develop their sense of accountability. These compacts can engage multiple actors, help to clarify expectations and resolve friction between host governments and peacekeepers.

The first compact has already been drafted and developed with the government of the CAR. More needs to be done in this direction. It is time to recognize the superiority of the local and to admit that the UN is only a temporary facilitator. The peace process essentially belongs to, and is owned by the local people. To achieve SDG 16 and make peace sustainable, the UN should lose its paternalism and serve local actors to build their own peaceful societies.

About the author: Prof. Dr. Vesselin Popovski is Vice Dean of the Law School & Executive Director of the Centre for UN Studies O.P. Jindal Global University, India. Author of seminal publications in the field of International Peace and Security, International Law, Human Rights, Justice. Regular member of The Philosophy Club, Sofia, Bulgaria.

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