June 2016

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June 2016 Unsubscribe
Latest Developments in UN Reform and Appointments:

Facing Corruption Charges, Former PGA John Ashe Dies

On 22 June, former President of the General Assembly John Ashe died in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Ashe had been indicted on charges of tax fraud related to a bribery scandal, in which he is accused of underreporting his income by more than $1 million. It remains unclear how his death will impact the ongoing corruption investigation.

In a statement, the current President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, offered condolences to Mr. Ashe's family and said that despite the allegations against him, "Mr Ashe was for many years a hard-working and popular member of the diplomatic corps in New York and at the United Nations."

General Assembly Elects New Members of Security Council, ECOSOC

On 28 June, the General Assembly met in a plenary session to elect five non-permanent members of the Security Council for the 2017-2018 term. Among the available seats, one was allocated to the Latin America and Caribbean Group (candidate: Bolivia), one for the African Group (candidate: Ethiopia), one for the Asia-Pacific Group (candidates: Thailand, Kazakhstan) and two for the Western European and Others Group (candidates: Sweden, Netherlands, Italy).

Ethiopia, Bolivia and Sweden were elected decisively in the first round of voting. Kazakhstan reached the required number of votes in the second round to beat Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Group.

Three additional rounds of voting took place to decide which state would claim the second WEOG seat, and the votes were evenly split between the Netherlands and Italy. Instead of continuing with the votes, the Ministers of Italy and the Netherlands proposed that they share the term, with Italy serving on the Council for 2017 and the Netherlands in 2018. The WEOG Group approved the proposal, and the General Assembly elected Italy on June 30th. Another election will be held next year in order for the Netherlands to assume the seat.

The states elected this month will take over seats from Venezuela, Angola, New Zealand and Spain, whose terms finish in December 2016.

On 14 June, the General Assembly elected eighteen members of the Economic and Social Council. Andorra, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Chad, China, Colombia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Venezuela were elected to serve on the Council from January 2017 through December 2019. For more information about the election, visit UNElections.org

Ambassador Thomson Elected President of the General Assembly; Hearings held with both Candidates

Ambassador Peter Thomson (Fiji) was elected as President of the General Assembly for the 71st session, narrowly defeating Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis of Cyprus. Ambassador Thomson currently serves as Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, and will formally assume the presidency on 13 September 2016.

Ahead of the election, the World Federation of UN Associations convened hearings with both candidates at UN headquarters. The hearings were an opportunity for representatives of civil society, as well as Member States, to ask questions of the candidates. For more information about this event, visit WFUNA's website.

General Assembly meets with SG Candidates; Security Council sets date to discuss

On 7 June, the President of the General Assembly convened a second round of informal dialogues with candidates for UN Secretary-General. Two recently nominated candidates participated in the dialogues: Susanna Malcorra, Foreign Minister of Argentina, and Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, Foreign Minister of Slovakia. In a recent op-ed, the President of the General Assembly argues that the dialogues revealed the desire of Member States for a “strong and independent” Secretary-General. The 1 For 7 Billion campaign has also written summaries of both the 7 June and 12-14 April dialogues, with an emphasis on UN reform issues.

As the end of Ban Ki-Moon’s term approaches, there is growing interest in who will replace him in January. Earlier this month, the United Nations Association-UK held an interactive event with several candidates in London. A recent article in Open Democracy analyzed how each of the candidates has described the role of the Secretary-General.Rumors about additional last-minute candidates persist.

Meanwhile, the Security Council has agreed to hold its first "straw poll" of the candidates on 21 July. The decision was announced in a letter to the President of the General Assembly.

Whistleblower Anders Kompass Resigns from UNHCHR

Anders Kompass, the UN official who helped to expose abuses by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, will resign next month as field operations director at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. After sharing a report on the alleged abuses with French officials, Kompass was suspended and investigated for misconduct by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Although Kompass was later cleared of the charges, he claims that the experience has made it impossible for him to continue in his post.

Kompass has detailed his reasons for leaving in an exclusive article. Citing the staff's fear of retaliation for exposing misconduct and a lack of "meaningful punishment" for those who engage in unethical behavior, Kompass argues that the UN's accountability system is broken.


12-13 July: High-level Thematic Debate on Human Rights
21 July: Security Council begins straw polling UNSG candidates
13 September: Start of the 71st Regular Session of the General Assembly
20 September: Start of the General Debate of the 71st Session of the General Assembly
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