17 October 2006

UNSG contest done. Epilogue in la Minore

Greetings. To the Chinese and Russians (but mostly to the Chinese). For China this election was a question of honour. For Russia it turned be the matter of principle, self-efficiency, and also giving a lesson to the disloyal Eastern Europeans and an act of revenge to the amerikosy (is it Russian for gringos?).

Brits. Obviously, tried to play open-mindedly. Tried hard. – Not enough.

French. Hah?

Americans. First impression: what kind of comedy was that? Last impression: this ambassador didn't make any better than his earlier predecessor, Bush, during the infamous selection of Kurt Waldheim.

We admit, we failed. Failed to provide our readers with the detailed reports (though it wasn't necessary - Tony at UNSG.org and Chapter15 did a marvelous job), failed to produce an analysis of these races (it's not over) and, what's important, failed to post out our scenario on a frontrunner.

Perhaps, this is not only our fault. Perhaps, we failed because... the election failed?

We have nothing to say about the "winner", or "his" victory – we're sort of inclined to the Qui sunt iudici? approach. The views on Ban are being spread everywhere in the Web now. The point is how soon these views will change after the Korean takes up to his post. – In this regard, the Economist's article seems to be very symptomatic (though the opinion of the well-respected magazine is totally neglected by its rather insipid conclusion "He deserves to be given a chance" - Of all seven contenders, who doesn't?). Another question is what's going to push the media to get back on the Seoul's campaign methods and for the NGOs to dig on the possible chain Ban-Park-Strong.

A few words on outsiders.

THAROOR. Not for a single moment, since his nomination till the last straw poll, no one thought of this candidate as a serious one. People acquainted with the way-too-ambitious Indian, clearly knew about his reasons to push the Prime Minister, omitting the Foreign Minister, for his nomination. It is not clear, however yet, whether author Shashi Tharoor will be able to find a place in the UN system under Ban, at least as an SG's envoy. We'll see.

VAIRA. The case of the outgoing and thus having-nothing-to-loose Baltic president was a copy of the Mary Robinson scenario in all aspects. Including the failure. Kudos is and will be expressed from the Eastern Europeans and women’s empowerment activists.

SURAKIART. The solidness and persistence of his campaign through the dire straits was indeed remarkable. We don't believe Surakiart will be part of the Thai provisional administration, he would rather become the leader of the body that was consistently endorsing him, especially as the next turn for ASEAN SG goes to Thailand.

Prince ZEID. The heir to the Iraqi throne is young and might have another chance. Still, no guarantee can be given that he (as one of our readers quite interestingly observed) would not duplicate the fate of another prince, who also failed, twice.

GHANI. The dark horse wasn't able to come out of darkness. Ghani's destiny is of concern for his devoted fans.

DHANAPALA. The whole story with the Sri Lanka ambitions for the UN top job was just a mess – first, Tyronne Fernando, then Dhanapala. To the loss of this post we would add the Lankans' defeats at the races for Commonwealth SG-2004, UNESCO DG-1999 and IAEA DG-1997. So, may be the problem is in these ambitions?.. As to Dhanapala himself, chances are he will return the UN system. Probably, the post won't be that high - for that he should have withdrawn in favour of Ban at least after the second straw poll.

As the appointment ceremony is being passed over, everyone is preparing. Coyly. UN senior staff is thinking of the ways to avoid the resign (or to be re-appointed). Asians are thinking over the recommendations for "their" SG, including on the UN senior staff. Eastern Europeans are drafting awkward letters for the SG-designate to recognize their turn for his successor and to accommodate their nationals (practically, the current and former heads of New York missions) within the UN senior staff, targeting at no less than the post of DSG. Everyone is keen to meet Ban who "will listen attentively to your concerns, expectations and admonitions". P5 are waiting...

And us? We are going to look back and analyze these campaigns, and will try to come up with the best practices in running for UNSG.

We trust that having such guidelines is a good idea. After all, the elections for the top international posts have indeed transformed into a major business…

13 October 2006

[updated] Puska on lobbying tour. Analysis favours Frenk as frontrunner for WHO DG

Media report on an intensive global tour of Pekka PUSKA as she campaigns for WHO DG. The candidate held talks with the health officials of Thailand, Bahrain, Kenya and US (current members of the WHO Executive Board) and is now in New York to meet the delegations in the UN.

The prestigious and influential British medical journal The Lancet (yet known for its controversial and scandalous publications) has an excellent coverage of this election of WHO DG, as it did of the previous one.

Our readers may be interested in the analysis by the editor Richard Horton of the candidates’ profiles. Assessing the technical (click on the table) and administrative skills of contestants, the author makes a conclusion:

The Executive Board of WHO has resolved (EB 97. R10) that the Director-General should have “a strong technical and public health background and extensive experience in international health”, “competency in organisational management”, and “proven historical evidence for public health leadership”. By these criteria, and by the technical, administrative, and programmatic measures set out above, the selection of WHO's next Director-General is not as difficult as it might at first have seemed. Julio FRENK must surely be the objective front-runner for Director-General of WHO.

Well, he is. As he was four years ago…

[postfactum] Capitán Pacha is new IMSO Director

The newly-elected Director of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) is Esteban PACHA VICENTE (see the official announcement of the Spanish Ministry of industry, tourism and trade).

No detailed information is available yet about the election per se except that the voting took five rounds during which the European votes were split between the winner and Richard VOS of UK, while the Latin Americans supported Martha Inés ORTEGON-CERVERA of Colombia.

Capitán Pacha will take the 4-year term from the incumbent Director Jerzy Vonau (Poland) on 15 April 2007.

07 October 2006

[updated] Kouchner programme cited as WHO DG campaign is underway. Another guess on a frontrunner

Those following the campaigning for the post of WHO DG may be interested in the views on the body's future by one of the contenders, Bernard KOUCHNER.

Also, the idea of "WHO FOR W.H.O.?" is being ventured by unforum.com. Basing his theory mostly on the geographic representation in the UN system, the author is assuming that the WHO top post will go to Icelandic health minister David GUNNARSSON.

[postfactum] New leadership of EFTA: Switzerland unhappy about top appointments

Recently, after quite extensive negotiations (the deal was scheduled by 1 April), the secretariat of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) obtained its new leadership.

For the next four years the body comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland (the talks are reportedly being held on a sort of arrangement for the membership of the Faroes which in fact, are part of Denmark) will be headed by Norwegian ambassador Kåre BRYN, once a WTO General Council chairman. Bryn is to be assisted by two DSGs, one at headquarters in Geneva, the other in Brussels.

Interestingly, at the moment of appointment of EFTA SG and his deputies, Switzerland suspended her nomination. The reason? Sources indicate that her target was namely the Brussels office which deals with the European Economic Area (EEA). A high percentage of the staff at the headquarters in Geneva is Swiss, but this is not enough for the Swiss government, which also wants more its nationals in key positions in Brussels. Because Switzerland is not part of the EEA, her insistence was vigorously opposed by the other EFTA members who partake in the Agreement.

In order to calm the tension with Iceland and Norway and to avoid the lose of the post, two weeks ago Switzerland made the headquarters nomination.

04 October 2006

[updated] WFP: 67 candidates for top post

Soon after we informed about the early bird, Josette SHEERAN, entering the races for the post of the World Food Programme (WFP) ED, reports appeared about her rivals.

Canada is promoting the Prime Minister's personal representative for Africa, former ambassador to the UN Robert FOWLER. Another candidate is director of the Swiss agency for development and cooperation Walter FUST.

Interestingly enough, the info about Fust's nomination states:

According to the Swiss daily, there are some 67 (!) candidates to succeed Morris after the American's term ends in April. WFP officials refused to say how many people have applied for the post, citing the confidentiality of the procedure.

Meanwhile, the UN spokesman reports that

... the process to find a successor to the current Executive Director of the World Food Programme is underway. A short list of candidates is expected to be made available soon.

An exicting investigation is being made by Inner City Press on the American candidate and the US controversial position with regard to the top appointments by the outgoing UNSG.

Update: we're adding to the list the name of former Norwegian international development minister (since she is an "ex", only her then-ministerial bio is available, in Norwegian). Hilde Frafjord JOHNSON 's international employment seems to be l'idée fixe of her Government: last year she was nominated and then even short-listed during the selection of UN Development Programme Administrator. The prize at those races was given to Kemal Derviş (who later was truly considered as a best-suitable candidate for the UN top post but – having been approached twice by his country-fellows – refused from partaking in another competition). Whether Johnson is in the short-list this time, we'll see in about a month.

More to come…