15 MARCH 2015


It just happened that while the International Women's Day was dutifully marked by a politically correct, though bored and boring meeting on Gender Equality and Millennium Development Goals, it became known that three senior women were leaving.

One, Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh, an experienced proven leader in the peacekeeping-peacemaking field has already left. She was immediately replaced by a man.

Another, Lady Valerie Amos of the U.K., in charge of Humanitarian Assistance, was leaving in March but was persuaded to extend a couple of months while a successor is designated. Again, the first nomination was for a man, whom Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron sought to place after the candidate was obliged to leave the Cabinet following media reports. When questions were raised within the U.N. Secretariat about a negative impact, Mr. Cameron reportedly presented two other British names: another man and a woman. The male candidate was interviewed in New York the first week of March. The U.N. official handling the appointment, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, had himself taken over from a woman, Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania. It was officially announced on 9 March that Lady Valerie Amos will be replaced by U.K. government nominee Stephen O'Brien.

The third woman leaving is Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament, former Under-Secretary General for Management, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and several other key assignments in her outstanding U.N. career. It is not yet announced by mid-March, but the quest for the post is already open. One main candidate mentioned is Mr. Kim Won-soo, the influential close advisor to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Kim (known otherwise as "Kim Too-soon") needs to build his own credentials in preparation for 2018, when he returns to his country's national service. A prestigious U.N. posting would enhance his choices at home. Thus, Ms. Kane is most likely to be replaced by a man. As currently the most senior citizen of Germany at the U.N., Ms. Kane will be replaced in that regard by Martin Kobler, currently Special Representative in the Congo, who was a candidate to replace another woman, Ms. Amos!

Meanwhile, two Eastern European men have been appointed in the Middle East: Jan Kubis of Slovakia in Iraq, as the ineffective clueless Representative there, Nickolay Mladenov was given a more crucial post as U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, replacing the experienced Dutch diplomat, Robert H. Serry.

A woman was scheduled to take charge of Geneva European Headquarters by now. The Secretary General's Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra of Argentina was almost announced, together with a woman replacement, Norleen Heyzer of Singapore. Instead, the Acting Dane in Geneva managed to hang in there for one more year in addition to another man from the same country, Denmark, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe, Christian Friis Bach. We'll be back!