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Diplomats from Argentina, Costa Rica in the Running for U.N. Secretary-General

LADB Article ID: 80080
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2016-09-02
By: Gregory Scruggs

In the race for what has been called the “most difficult job in the world,” that of UN secretary-general, Susana Malcorra of Argentina and Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica are vying for the position. At the end of this year, current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s two-term mandate will come to an end. Before his departure, the UN Security Council is vetting candidates to decide who will hold the world’s top diplomatic post. Malcorra, Ban Ki-moon’s former chief of staff, was recently appointed minister of foreign affairs by Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, and is seen as an insider who knows how to work the levers of the UN bureaucracy. Figueres, who stepped down as head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in July, is running on the strength of the successful COP 21 conference last December, which delivered the Paris Agreement on climate change. The two Latin American candidates aspire to be the first secretary-general from the region since Peru’s Javier Pérez de Cuéllar served two terms, from 1982 to 1991.However, under an informal system known as “regional rotation,” there is a strong possibility that the job will go to a candidate from Eastern Europe, a region that has not yet led the UN.

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