UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon: 'My replacement should be a woman'

Ban Ki-Moon. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he should be replaced by a woman. It is “high time” a woman lead the multinational organisation, he said.

The South Korean statesman was speaking at an event in Los Angeles and responded to a question about a potential female successor, the Associated Press reported.

“We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments or other organisations or even business communities, political communities, and cultural and every aspect of our life,” Ban told the Associated Press Thursday, the day after. “There’s no reason why not in the United Nations.”

“[There are] many distinguished, motivated women leaders who can really change this world, who can actively engage with the other leaders of the world,” he added.

Ban also argued his successor should be able to represent minorities and the underserved, according to the AP. He is serving his second five-year term and is set to be replaced at the end of the year.

The process involves a vote among the U.N. Security Council — the permanent members include the United States, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and China, with 10 rotating, non-permanent member states — whereby a candidate is recommended to the General Assembly. The group of 193 states comprising the General Assembly will then vote on the proposed candidate.

Five of the eleven finalists are women.

The female candidates are UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, former Executive-General of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change and Costa Rican Christina Figueres, Foreign Minister of Argentina Susana Malcorra and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

While Ban does not technically have any say in who will fill the role, he made it clear he was pulling for a female successor. “That’s my humble suggestion,” he told the AP.

The U.N., established in the wake of World War II in 1945, has had eight secretaries-general in its more than 70 years of existence — all of them have been men.

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