The United Nations is tantalisingly close to having its first woman – and Eastern European – secretary general. European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, who is Bulgarian, now has the long-awaited backing of the Bulgarian government to get the top UN job. She is finally officially in the race to replace Ban Ki-moon and will be fielding questions from the UN General Assembly on October 3.
We should all be rooting for Georgieva. Here are 3 reasons – among many- why I think she rocks:
- Georgieva will be transformational. At a time when the UN, like all international organisations, is struggling to reestablish its credentials in a complicated and turbulent world, Georgieva has the personality, skills and experience to break away from the repetitive “same old, same old” way of doing things.
- From the day she took over as the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs in 2010, Georgieva has travelled the world, standing out as a strong, no-nonsense but compassionate leader who goes the extra mile to engage and connect with people and countries.
- Having tried all different types of men (from different continents, different races, different backgrounds) it’s time the UN was led by a gutsy, hard-working woman who commands respect and knows her way around byzantine multilateral institutions, including the EU Commission and the World Bank.
Of course it’s not done yet. Antonio Guterres, the much respected former Portuguese prime minister and head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, is still in the lead in the numerous “straw polls” held so far at the UN. But that was before Georgieva entered the fray.
Also, Irina Bokova, head of UNESCO and the former favourite of the Bulgarian government, is still in the race and reportedly has Russian backing.
Not everyone – including Moscow and some Europeans such as the French and Portuguese governments – is pleased that Georgieva is believed to be the favourite candidate of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But really should we care? Isn’t it time to stop the petty political and geopolitical quarrels and focus on what’s best for reviving the only multilateral body which has a mandate to tackle the many challenges of global governance?