06 March 2007


As it can be seen from below, the list is pretty conditional, as these people are picked by me. And it's expandable – so, as usual, I welcome the additions through the comments page or via email.

Ironically but not coincidentally, these persons are closely interconnected and practically represent a monolith influence group. Most of them were present at the infamous and supposedly "secret" meeting in December 2005 in Manhattan which was aimed at "saving Kofi and rescuing the UN". Although the meeting was held before 2006, it actually laid grounds for and further shaped the following year's UN and other intergovernmental bodies selection process.

#5. Robert ("Bob") C. Orr. Along with #2 of this list, this person is more of a "strategist"-type (kind of a given, since Orr's post is ASG for policy coordination and strategic planning). An academician turned diplomat turned NSC adviser turned UN official, Bob brought some really interesting ideas on reforming the UN. Accordingly, his impact on the selection of top functionaries in the UN system should be viewed only as part of this reform. In fact, Bob is a good guy. He just chose wrong partners.

#4. Richard C. Holbrooke. Clearly, his UN ambassadorial job in the past (with Orr serving as his deputy) affects his present. Some say it was him who arranged the above meeting in Manhattan that resulted in installment of #2 as DSG. Others nod on his information network (if I'm not mistaken, he was among the first to mention Ban and Zeid as potential candidates for UNSG). Almost never he was seen behind the selection of new international leaders, yet it's like secret de Polichinel that he was consulted on every other appointment in the Secretariat, especially when it concerned the US nationals. With luck in his second bid for Secretary of State's post, his UN appointments policy might be even more aggressive, and there's no foreseen ground for the chairman of the Asia Society and the Asian to disagree.

#3. Kofi Atta Annan. Well… You know… He was Secretary-General, anyway.

#2. Mark Malloch Brown. A PR manager by God (and to some extent, by career), the Briton has repeatedly stumbled once he became Annan's deputy – but not in terms of selecting the members of the "UN team". Known in the UN community as His Eminence Grise, Malloch Brown had a strong hand in the senior-level UN selection process mainly through his child – the Senior Appointment Group – that was responsible for all the last year's appointments, including his own and his protégé's.

#1. It'
s really amazing how a man, after having disappeared from the international political surface quite a time ago, can still be so much discussed and highlighted in media! Maurice Strong, "international man of mystery", "Godfather of the international environmental movement", or just Godfather…

His shadow was noted behind the appointments of USG Bárcena Ibarra and ASG McAskie, he is associated with the Htun's bid for WHO DG, his blessing for installment of Steiner as UNEP Executive Director is to be discovered. That's just from the top of my head.

Also, I did raise the question about the intrigue around the selection of Marton-Lefèvre as IUCN DG, given her Costa Rican background and that this body is in the orbit of the Godfather. The truth turned out to be much simpler: she is sister-in-law of # 4 of this list. It will not be hard to find out what other strings are attached here...

Looking through what I've written, I am having hard time to explain even to myself why my list looks more like a conspiracy theory, which I just hate (actually, the enthusiasts could go even further, exploiting the connections of Malloch Brown - Soros, Malloch Brown – Dervis – Wolfensohn – Strong, Holbrooke – the Rockefeller family, etc.), but apparently that's how it is. To my credit, I am not stating anything…

I purposely did not mention the governments of the UN members-states which, given the specifics, are the actual players of the inter-governmental leadership selection. Still, two persons should not be omitted: the US president meddling into the WFP Executive Director appointment (well, how would you feel – having the questionable third term as FAO DG – when you're asked by phone about your plans for the future?!) and the president of France with the rumoured interest in the results of the Global Fund's Executive Director. Chirac however, lately seems to be more interested in the movies casting

The history of national leaderships teaches that the bold moves traditionally are being made after re-election. But the tendency is already visible during the first year of reigning. I think this is totally applicable to the UN with its current head Ban.

Of this list, one person is still on the 38th floor. During the next 10 months we'll see the force of influence over the UN leadership selection by this person (and perhaps through him, by the rest of the list) as well as that "mysterious" Kim.

Kim, by the by, will be discussed here soon…