The Stream

#NextSG Tests UN Digital Diplomacy, Transparency

Will first-ever public debate bring more accountability to the United Nations’ top job?

It’s been called “the most impossible job in the world” and for the first time in history, the job interview is public.

Candidates vying to become the next United Nations Secretary General are taking questions from the public via social media and answering concerns from member states. The five permanent Security Council members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – normally chose the UN chief in a secretive process. But this time, part of that process is happening on live television in a debate broadcast globally by Al Jazeera.

The UN, struggling not only with health epidemics and the Syrian War, but the stain of corruption, peacekeepers raping children, and the mismanagement of billions of dollars, says it is heeding the call for transparency. After the show is over and the interviews done, however, the five Security Council members will still decide who will replace Ban Ki-Moon to become the ninth secretary-general, a position never held by a woman or an Eastern European country.

The UN is heralding a new era in transparency, starting with #NextSG, but what and who will it take to really fix what critics say is a broken world body? Join the conversation on Wednesday at 1930 GMT.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Natalie Samarasinghe @Natalie_UNA
Executive Director, United Nations Association

Claudia Rosett @CRosett
Foreign Policy Fellow, Independent Women’s Forum

Susan Alzner @susanalzner
Head of the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service in New York

Daniel Thomas @DMWThomas
Communications Director and Spokesperson for the Office of the President of the General Assembly

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.