The UN Security Council re-nominated Ban Ki-moon to a second 5-year term as Secretary General this morning by acclamation. The General Assembly will take up the nomination on Tuesday and is expected to likewise approve a new term by acclamation, to run from 1 January 2012 through 31 December 2016.
Regardless of one’s views about Ban’s performance as Secretary-General during this first term, the process cannot be considered anything other than a joke. It does not matter than this was a re-appointment or that a second term is a virtual entitlement to the region or incumbent. While it was long suspected that Ban would be standing for re-election, his announcement came only 11 days ago. Eleven days to select the chief executive officer of an organization of 192 member states. The Security Council should have given Ban’s nomination the due process worthy of the post, and its failure to do so minimizes and disrespects the Office of UN Secretary General.
With no formal nomination period, nor even an invitation by the President of the Security Council or General Assembly for additional nominations, the consideration of the sole nominee is questionable even by IMF standards. In that process, the Executive Board took the minimal accountability measures of providing for a 18-day nomination period and setting a decision date several weeks following a call for nominees.
In contrast, Ban will have announced his interest in a second term, been formally nominated and will be confirmed entirely within the election period of the new IMF Managing Director. And according to one report, it was possible that the entire affair could have taken place within a week, shorter even than the nominations phase alone for DSK’s successor. Even as it is, Ban’s re-election therefore will be the earliest in UN history, beating Kofi Annan’s reappointment in 2001 by 6 days. Why the rush?
This is not a criticism of Ban nor suggestive that he not deserve a second term. In fact, Ban himself perhaps acted with far more integrity than members of the UN Security Council or General Assembly, not to mention the UN Press corps. Within two days of making his announcement, he met with representatives of all five of the UN’s regional groups to discuss his candidacy. Regardless of how pro forma those “interviews” may have been in reality, Ban at least respected their role in his re-nomination and election. They on the other hand are acting hastily with no good reason.