The United Nations: Consideration of Women Candidates in the Election of the Secretary-General

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Action Number: 
11.1
IMPORTANT: This archived action campaign has been completed or discontinued, and the information contained in it may not be current. Please see Take Action for current and ongoing campaigns.
Date: 
1 Aug 1996
 
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Prime Minister
Norway
   
Frene Ginwala
Speaker of Parliament
South Africa
 

 
Sadako Ogata
High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations

         

 
Navanethem Pillay
International Rwanda Tribunal
United Nations

 

 
Mary Robinson
President
Ireland

 

 
Leticia Shahani
President of the Senate
Philippines

The election of the United Nations Secretary-General will take place in 1996, when the five-year term of the current Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, ends. Mr. Boutros-Ghali, now 73 years old, declared when he was elected that he would not seek more than one term, although recently he has indicated otherwise. The Security Council, which recommends a candidate for Secretary-General to the General Assembly, is composed of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and ten rotating members (currently Botswana, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, the Republic of Korea, and Poland). To be selected by the Security Council, a candidate must secure at least nine votes and avoid the veto of any permanent member. There has never been a woman Secretary-General.

The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing last year, noted that "the United Nations is continuing to deny itself the benefits of women's leadership by their underrepresentation at decision-making levels within the Secretariat" and that "without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women's perspective at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved." The Platform for Action adopted called for the development of "mechanisms to nominate women candidates for appointment to senior posts in the United Nations." There are many qualified women from all regions of the world (normally the position rotates), including those pictured above, who have been publicly mentioned as potential candidates for the Secretary-General.

Write to the Security Council members below, and to your own government representatives, urging them to elect a qualified woman to the post of Secretary-General. Recall the commitment made at the Fourth World Conference on Women and note that the upcoming election of the most senior UN post represents a unique opportunity to honor this commitment.

Botswana
Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila
Botswana Mission to the UN
103 East 37th Street
New York, New York 10016 USA
Fax: 212-725-5061
 
Chile
Ambassador Juan Somavía
Chilean Mission to the UN
3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
305 East 47th Street, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-832-0236
 
China
Ambassador Qin Huasun
Chinese Mission to the UN
155 West 66th Street
New York, New York 10023 USA
Fax: 212-870-0333
 
Egypt
Ambassador Nabil A. Elaraby
Egyptian Mission to the UN
36 East 67th Street
New York, New York 10021 USA
Fax: 212-794-3874
 
France
Ambassador Alain Dejammet
French Mission to the UN
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
245 East 47th Street, 44th Floor
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-421-6889
 
Germany
Ambassador Tono Eitel
German Mission to the UN
600 Third Avenue, 41st Floor
New York, New York 10016 USA
Fax: 212-856-6280
 
Guinea-Bissau
Ambassador Adelino Queta
Guinea-Bissau Mission to the UN
211 East 43rd Street, Room 604
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-983-2794
 
Honduras
Ambassador Gerardo Martínez Blanco
Honduran Mission to the UN
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 417
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-223-0498

Indonesia
Ambassador Nugroho Wisnumurti
Indonesian Mission to the UN
325 East 38th Street
New York, New York 10016 USA
Fax: 212-972-9780
 
Italy
Ambassador Francesco Paolo Fulci
Italian Mission to the UN
Two United Nations Plaza, 24th Floor
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-486-1036
 
Republic of Korea
Ambassador Park Soo Gil
Republic of Korea Mission to the UN
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 300
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-371-8873
 
Poland
Ambassador Zbigniew Wlosowicz
Polish Mission to the UN
9 East 66th Street
New York, New York 10021 USA
Fax: 212-517-6771
 
Russian Federation
Ambassador Sergei Lavrov
Russian Embassy to the UN
136 East 67th Street
New York, New York 10021 USA
Fax: 212-628-0252
 
United Kingdom
Ambassador John Weston
UK Mission to the UN
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-745-9316
 
United States
Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright
United States Mission to the UN
799 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017 USA
Fax: 212-415-4443