Bokova Names Gender Equality, Refugee Integration as Key Challenges at UN Hearing

World | April 13, 2016, Wednesday // 08:39|  views

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General and Bulgaria's candidate to take over as United Nations Secretary General. File photo, BGNES

Equal opportunities for men and women and the integration of migrants should be at the core of the United Nations' efforts during the next Secretary General's term of office, Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian UN top job candidate, said on Tuesday.

Bokova presented her views on the future of the UN during the "informal dialogues" with Secretary General candidates that are being held on April 12-14 in New York.

UN officials hope the unprecedented procedure will help boost transparency in the election process, which will purportedly include a higher-profile role for the UN General Assembly than before (the Security Council vote has always dominated the process until now).

Bokova placed a special emphasis on gender equality, arguing no sustainable development is possible if men and women are not offered equal opportunities.

She called for an increased focus on violence against women at the United Nations, a problem she said had been neglected for years.

The candidate pointed to the advantage her role as Director General of UNESCO gives her as someone with managerial experience.

"I am from the generation that was able to work for the introduction of democracy in Bulgaria, I am part of the generation that paved the way for democracy in the country," 24 Chasa quotes her as saying during her oral presentation.

She also opined a broader interaction was needed between political decisions and humanitarian initiatives to help deepen migrants' integration.

Asked about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, she pointed to the need of a two-state solution.

Bokova's time for answering had run out when she was posed a question about the territorial integrity of Ukraine in light of Crimea's incorporation into Russia.

Criticism for the Bulgarian candidate in the international media outlet has been mostly reduced to two features, one being her family's ties to the Communist regime in Bulgaria and the other being alleged preference shown for her by Russia.

During her presentation, Bokova used French to begin, then switched to English and occasionally used Spanish and French to give replies to questions she had been asked.

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Tags: Irina Bokova, UNESCO, United Nations, Secretary General, Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia


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