All UN Member States to Participate in Selection of Next Secretary-GeneralWorld | December 16, 2015, Wednesday // 10:04| views
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the COP21 World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, 11 December 2015. Photo: EPA
For the first time in history, all 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) will be included in the selection of the next Secretary-General, who is to succeed incumbent Ban Ki-moon in 2017.
This was announced by the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
According to Lykketoft, this represented a watershed, as until now the process of selection has been very secretive and involved mostly or only the five permanent members of the Security Council.
The five permanent members will retain their strong position in selecting proposals for the General Assembly, but the new procedure is expected to give the general membership more power in the process.
This is also expected to give member states the opportunity to question candidates about their position on UN priorities, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, peace and security and other issues.
The process of soliciting candidates was officially started on Tuesday when a joint letter of the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council was sent out to all member states.
The letter calls on member states to "consider presenting women, as well as men, as candidates for the position".
The UN Charter stipulates that the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council, which will begin its process of selection by the end of July next year.
The next Secretary-General will assume office in January 2017 and will serve a five-year term, which could be renewed by member states for another term.
The names of two Bulgarian women - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, have been widely circulated as possible candidates for the position.