15 SEPTEMBER 2016
Habitually for an International Civil Servant, #1 is the Secretary-General. However, in these days the title goes to the greatest attention seeker who is a senior UN official.
#1 has to be expediently appointed. Those with institutional memory would recall that Alvaro de Soto wrote an article saying that the only senior UN official that requires undivided
attention is the Secretary-General: the rest were straphangers. This wasn't exactly the case, yet, Alvaro has his arrow straight.
Looking after #1 seems to be gaining more attention since the real #1 (the Secretary-General) is about to leave and some politically-appointed officials around him are exploring
One example is Mr. Andrew Gilmore, whose actual work is not very clear. However official titles can be easily created to justify modest or haughty presence like that of Mr. Gilmore.
Looking for interesting exits is fair enough when done appropriately. However, Mr. Gilmore, who obviously relied on his UK credentials, could have been better off moving laterally or
applying for a more senior post; instead he just secured a higher level Associated Secretary General position replacing Ivan Simonovic as High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York.
Mr. Simonovic has done an incredible job as High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. In the interest of human rights, the process should have been open to other candidates,
including Mr. Gilmore to apply and be thoroughly considered before a decision is taken to fill such a key position.
Upgrading a member of the Secretary-General's office is obviously an exclusive entitlement of the Secretary-General, however, it would have been more credible if it was done more
seriously, effectively and in a transparent manner. The point is being raised now as several others would be angling for the #1 treatment. As Secretary-General Ban is about to leave,
it would be a pity if he succumbs to the demands of the opportunists who don't have the best interests of the Organization at heart, who are looking after their own advancement while
ignoring their colleagues who are equally, if not more qualified.