26 September 2006

[updated] First bird in the WFP races

According to our sources, the first nominee for the post of the World Food Programme (WFP) ED is under secretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs of the US Department of State Josette SHEERAN (formerly Shiner, and before Sheeran).

Frankly, we trust she will get the job – no matter, who her opponents are going to be. Primarily, because of the nation she is representing, which contributes almost half of the WFP budget. Another argument would be an US claim, and not a groundless one, that their national didn't finish the job, as the incumbent WFP ED James T. Morris had only one term.

Last, but not least. Josette Sheeran is not a dark horse: her qualities and ambitions are being discussed at a number of blogs. So, we're inclined to think that the current nomination was part of her long-shot plan to get a top international post. It is probably in this context we should regard her inclusion into the UN High-level panel on system-wide coherence, created earlier this year.

More to come…

24 September 2006

[postfactum] IUCN: DG appointed

This week the Council of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), after "a 3-month worldwide search process" announced its decision to appoint Julia MARTON-LEFÈVRE as the next DG of IUCN.

The post has been vacated after a rather questionable appointment of the then IUCN DG Achim Steiner (Germany) as No.1 in the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) where the latter replaced his country-fellow Klaus Töpfer (we hope to cover this affair later).

Marton-Lefèvre, a Hungarian-born US/French citizen, has quite a reputation of environmentalist. However, her background – or the "Costa Rican" period of it – surprisingly resembles one of the UNSG's Chef de Cabinet Alicia Bárcena Ibarra (Mexico), presumably "recommended" for this high post by the almighty Canadian tycoon Maurice Strong.

Whether we should presume the same connection between Strong and the newly-appointed IUCN DG, is yet to be revealed…

22 September 2006

[breaking news] GUAM: new body, new SG

An entity, formerly known as GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova), then GUAM (after Uzbekistan's withdrawal) and finally, as the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM has been established as a regional organization with its headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine.

The members of GUAM are going to meet at the ministerial level with the appointment of the first SG on their agenda.

Our sources report that the head of the new body – apparently, to be appointed by consensus – will be Georgian deputy foreign minister Valeri CHECHELASHVILI. With this selection, Chechelashvili's experience must have been taken into account, as he previously headed the Permanent International Secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC PERMIS).

The decision of the GUAM foreign minister is expectedly to be taken on 25 September in New York.

15 September 2006

[updated] OPEC: no agreement on SG, again

Once again, we have to state the failure of the 3-years-long talks on OPEC SG.

Despite the fact that last time three candidates were nominated, the delegations to the 142nd Meeting of the OPEC Conference did not reach a consensus over who will be dealing with the oil prices for the next three years. OPEC's press-release on the Meeting doesn't even mention the subject.

Chances are that it will be at the next, 143rd Extraordinary Meeting scheduled for mid-December in Nigeria when we hear again the claims on the "right to OPEC SG post".

[updated] WHO: media aspects of campaign for DG

For those following the races for WHO Director-Generalship, here's an example of a media campaign. According to some of our readers, this is a first disguised attack on the contender.

Whom is this edition behind? Well, look at our previous posts on these races, it's pretty clear...

11 September 2006

[updated] IMSO: candidates for Director announced

We have got the list of the official nominees for the post of the IMSO Director.

It consists of 9 candidates representing 7 nations:

  • Moin AHMED (Bangladesh);
  • Martha Inés ORTEGON-CERVERA (Colombia);
  • Herdy Rosadi HARMAN (Indonesia);
  • Andy REVERA (Indonesia);
  • B.M. SANI (Nigeria);
  • Haru ALHASSAN (Nigeria);
  • Esteban PACHA VICENTE (Spain);
  • Richard VOS (United Kingdom);
  • Steven LETT (US).

Not all of the above candidates are known, for the moment.

Bangladesh presented a head of IMO's Asia and Pacific technical cooperation section, the US is promoting her Department of State communications functionary, Spain is behind her representative to IMO.

Sani is deputy director for standards at the Nigerian communications commission, Harman is vice president for legal and compliance at the PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. (TELKOM Indonesia). Colombia OK'd the campaign for the second secretary of her embassy in London.

The most notable pretender would be the Englishman, who previously led Inmarsat, was head of BT's satellite investment, served as UK governor on the board of Intelsat and currently is chairman of the UK Telecommunications and Navigation Advisory Board.

The election of IMSO Director is scheduled for 25-29 September at its Assembly of Parties, with the appointment effect from 15 April 2007.

[breaking news] OPEC: tomorrow might bring a new head (after three years of deadlock)

Monday, the oil ministers of the OPEC member states will meet in Vienna to try once again and agree on its SG that has been vacated since December 2003, when the term of Venezuela’s Alvaro Silva ended.

The main pretender for the post is Iran’s deputy minister of petroleum for international affairs Mohammad-Hadi NEJAD-HUSSEINIAN (see his outdated bio here).

Another candidate is Kuwait’s Adnan SHIHAB-ELDIN (bio, again outdated one), Acting for SG in 2005 under Kuwait’s presidency.

Iran and Kuwait are long-time racers for the post. Their nationals only once occupied the post since OPEC creation: Iran provided OPEC's first SG in 1961 and Kuwait the third, in 1965.
Both Nejad-Husseinian and Shihab-Eldin competed at the last election in 2003.

Still, namely Iran seems to have put a lot at stake, especially as this country has been banned the position of OPEC head since the Islamic Revolution took over the country in 1979. Under today’s political circumstances and with the challenge of having OPEC head approved by a consensus decision, it is most believable that Iran is trying to convince Kuwait on agreeing to share the 6-year SG term, the maneuver she already persuaded Saudi Arabia with in 1999.

Having said that, we have to admit a smart move from Nigeria to bring on its own nomination, almost at the last minute. Tomorrow we’ll know whether Acting for SG Mohammed Sanusi BARKINDO will be permitted to continue at his current post full time.

07 September 2006

[s.p.] UNSG race: stay tuned

Our sincere apologies to the devoted readers of this blog.

Our analysis and forecast of the ongoing election of the UNSG is under elaboration and will be posted shortly.

Please, check topposts.blogspot.com later.

WHO: list of 13. Campaigns went official

Upon yesterday's deadline the WHO announced the official list of candidates for the post of DG.

The candidates are:

  • Ecuador's president, Dr. Luis Alfredo PALACIO GONZALEZ (Wikipedia profile);
  • WHO ADG for external relations and governing bodies Kazem BEHBEHANI (Kuwait);
  • WHO ADG for communicable diseases Margaret CHAN (SARS/China);
  • WHO regional director for the Western Pacific Shigeru OMI (Japan);
  • WHO's High Representative of the European and developing countries clinical trials partnership Pascoal Manuel MOCUMBI (Mozambique);
  • WHO ED for family and community health Tomris TURMEN (Turkey);
  • former WHO ED for evidence and information policy Julio FRENK MORA (Mexico);
  • co-founder of "Médecins sans Frontières", former head of UNMIK Bernard KOUCHNER (France);
  • professor at the UN-sponsored University for Peace, former UNDP ASG/regional director for Asia and the Pacific Nay HTUN (Myanmar);
  • Spain's minister of health and consumers Elena Salgado MENDEZ (Spain);
  • Lebanon's minister of tourism and health Karam KARAM(proposed by Syria (sic!);
  • permanent secretary of the Ministry of health and social security David GUNNARSSON (Iceland);
  • director general of the public health institute Pekka PUSKA (Finland).
So, among the candidates we can see a current president, a former prime-minister and five WHO insiders (plus a former Organization's servant). Three of them – Frenk, Mocumbi and Karam – run for DG for the second time.

Also, Kouchner previously competed for the post of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, unsuccessfully.

Surprisingly, the final list does not contain the name of UNAIDS ED Peter Piot (Belgium, again).

As was previously posted, only one of the contenders - Frenk - so far was declared as a frontrunner.

We will try to closely follow the campaigns and deliberations on the selection process, as it promises to be very intriguing this time…

04 September 2006

[updated] WHO DG: up to a dozen names in the hat (and about 100 candidates for the Global Fund's head)

Up to a dozen candidates - most of them are WHO insiders (and two racing for the second time) - are reportedly participating in the campaign for the next Director-General of the World Health Organization following J.W. Lee's (South Korea) death earlier this year.

Among them are:

  • permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Security David GUNARSSON (Iceland);
  • UNAIDS Executive Director Peter PIOT (Belgium) - should we expect that his current post is going to be vacant?;
  • director general of the National Public Health Institute Pekka PUSKA (Finland);
  • former WHO executive director for evidence and information policy Julio FRENK MORA (Mexico);
  • WHO regional director for the Western Pacific Shigeru OMI (Japan);
  • WHO ADG for external relations and governing bodies Kazem BEHBEHANI (Kuwait) and
  • WHO ADG for communicable diseases (on a leave during the campaign) Margaret CHANG (SARS/China).

WHO ADG for HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria Anarfi ASAMOA-BAAH (Ghana), so far the only African representative, is also mentioned as a possible candidate. Finally, acting WHO DG and ADG for general management Anders NORDSTRÖM (Sweden) namely by his denial of intentions to run for the post gives the food-for-thought contrariwise.

For the moment, only the Financial Times risked to declare one of the contenders, Julio Frenk, as "frontrunner" (?!).

5 September is the final date for receipt of proposals. Candidates will be considered by the WHO Executive Board on 6-8 November. The appointment is scheduled for 9 November at the special session of the WHA.

It's worth mentioning that the above will be preceded by the appointment of the ED of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. According to FT, about 100 (!) candidates have already registered for the post (see the job announcement here).

For those following the race, below are some links.

CGD's blog "Running for Director-General"

The Scientist's analysis of the nomination and selection process for the next WHO DG.

Also, if you are interested in the arrangements of the nomination and appointment, look at the WHO section of "Arrangements for appointing the FAO DG. Practice in other UN System agencies" at our links.

WHO Executive Board resolution "Consideration of the acceleration of the procedure to elect the next Director-General of the World Health Organization" is here.

And an excellent exposé of the previous election of the WHO DG is given in this research paper by the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Update: another Latin American candidate has been brought into the list. Ecuador officially nominates no less than her president, Dr. Luis Alfredo Palacio González. Alfredo Palacio (see his Wikipedia profile here), an educated cardiologist and former health minister, has been roughly a year at his current post and presumably, has no interest in a consequent term (the Ecuadoran presidential elections are scheduled for October).