May 26, 2017

Statement by Amb. Andreas D. Mavroyiannis – Revitalization of the GA

Revitalization of the General Assembly, third thematic debate on the selection and appointment of the Secretary General and other executive heads

Trusteeship Council, 27 April 2015

Thank you Co-Chairs and, at the outset, let me commend the way in which you have conducted our deliberations on this important issue thus far. The need for progress on this issue is underscored by the overarching desire to empower the United Nations, increase its relevance, and harmonize it with contemporary trends. These become even more imperative, when seen through the angle of small member states that have invested a lot of their hopes upon a strong, credible, transparent and democratic United Nations.

It is our conviction that the task of revitalizing the United Nations will only be accomplished if the values and principles that inspired the establishment of this organization come to the forefront once again, dictating our international and domestic action.

We have stated repeatedly in the past that we should not view the role and the work of any principal organ in terms of antagonism with other organs. The Charter provides clearly what each organ does and when we pit different organs against one another the entire organization loses out. The proper functioning of each organ alone and the synergy between them is a necessary to produce the desired output.

The issue under discussion today is a case in point par excellence. We all recognize that the UNSG plays a pivotal role in this organization and it is understandable that all Member States feel affected by his/her appointment and would like to be involved, or at least not overlooked. Member States should at least have the opportunity to exchange views with candidates, assess their qualities, and express vital concerns to them. This is entirely feasible without prejudice to the selection process and without infringing on the prerogatives of the Security Council.

The central role of the Security Council in the process of the selection of the Secretary General and the balancing effect of consensus among the permanent members of the Security Council are not in dispute. But in appointing a Secretary-General, the members of the Security Council do not act as Member States with national interests. They act as a body, the body that is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, to select a person fit to lead the organization. They are bound by the weight of this responsibility.

Cyprus considers that in selecting the Secretary-General, the guiding principle should be merit, without of course disregarding established traditions and balances laboriously elaborated over seventy years. Candidates seeking the post of the United Nations Secretary General should explain how they propose to address the most pressing issues facing the international community at large and the organization itself. They must also demonstrate knowledge of this organization’s norms/resolutions/ decisions, by which the SG is bound, as well as lay out recommendations on how further their implementation. Candidates also should elaborate on how they would deal with the expanding demands of the UN system, addressing its deficiencies and enhancing its role as the central coordinator for global action.  The ability to show vision and result-oriented ability should prevail over all other considerations.

Thank you.