Apr 12, 2016
Washington, D.C.

Kicking off what he has called a “new and transparent process,” General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft today opened informal dialogues with candidates for the next United Nations Secretary-General, for the first time providing an opportunity for substantive and open engagement with the candidates – for the full UN membership and the public.

“We are sailing into uncharted waters here,” said Mr. Lykketoft addressing the press ahead of the start of the informal dialogues.

Calling the process a “potential game-changing exercise,” he said the informal briefings were part of a “very transparent, very interesting discussion about the future of the United Nations.”

Over the course of the next three days, the official candidates – currently eight of them – will answer questions related to promoting sustainable development, how to improve efforts to create peace, how to protect human rights, how to deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes, and how to resolve challenges defined by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Watch live the informal dialogues with the candidates for UN Secretary-General

At the end of the process, Mr. Lykketoft said, expressing his personal view, one single candidate could emerge, making it difficult for the Security Council – which is tasked with making the official selection, as stated in the UN Charter – to choose another candidate.

Defining some of the qualities in who would be the “best person” for the job, Mr. Lykketoft stressed independence, strong moral authority, great political and diplomatic skills, and some experience in being at the head of a huge administration.

As part of the informal dialogues, each candidate will have a televised and webcast two-hour timeslot, starting with a short oral presentation. Representatives from Member States will then ask questions, followed by the President of the General Assembly, who will ask a few of the more than 1,000 questions submitted by the general public on social media under the hashtag #UNSGcandidates.

The three candidates who will go before the General Assembly today are listed below, in order of appearance.

Igor Luksic is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. He is nominated by the Government of Montenegro.

Irina Bokova is currently the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. She is nominated by the Government of Bulgaria.

Antonio Guterres was most recently the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is nominated by the Government of Portugal.

Following their sessions, each candidate will have the opportunity to speak with the press. The events can be followed live on UN WebTV.