Over 2,000 tickets are now on sale for the largest ever public debate with UN Secretary-General candidates. Organised by UNA-UK and our partners, the event marks a historic departure from the secretive process that has characterised the UN leader’s selection for the past seven decades.
Set to take place at the Barbican Centre at 7pm on Friday 3 June, this head-to-head debate comes at a crucial time, with the Security Council due to begin deliberations on the selection process by the end of July 2016.
During the debate, Secretary-General candidates will make the case for why they should succeed Ban Ki-moon. They will be quizzed by a panel of experts and face questions from the audience and from the public at large – coordinated through a worldwide poll by Avaaz and Global Citizen that has received over 35,000 submissions from 161 countries.
This event is the second of two unprecedented candidates’ debates, organised by UNA-UK in partnership with the Guardian, Future UN Development System and the Embassy of Denmark. Thefirst debate, held in New York on 13 April, saw four candidates go head-to-head in an intimate setting with an audience of just over 200 guests.
For the past 70 years, the Secretary-General has been chosen in secret, in a process tainted by backroom deals with powerful states. These debates mark a major success for UNA-UK and our 1 for 7 Billion campaign, which has pushed for a more open process that engages member states, civil society and the wider public. While the Security Council still holds the reins on the selection process, this new element of public scrutiny has raised the political cost of appointing a candidate who is not up to the job.
The debates in New York and London are designed to complement the official UN hearings – the first round of which took place on 12-14 April. While UNA-UK welcomes these meetings as a major departure from the formerly closed process, our debates aim to provide increased capacity for civil society and public participation.
Participating candidates will be announced on this page as the event draws closer.