The Foreign Service Journal, September 2006

member-states before the end of this year in order to give his suc- cessor a solid basis from which to begin. The Time Is Now A re-examination of the process of selecting the secre- tary-general should be viewed as a component of the larger, on- going U.N. reform effort. A strong, capable leader is needed to ensure the implementation of reforms and to guide the transformation of the U.N. into a more efficient and effective body. The choice of a new secretary-general will have a lasting impact on the organi- zation and, indeed, the world. The negotiations leading up to the World Summit of September 2005, as well as more recent debates, reveal how far apart member-states are on many fronts, includ- ing how to approach develop- ment, terrorism, disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and the management of the U.N. itself. Making improvements in the process for selecting the body’s next leader in the current climate of strained relations and mistrust will undoubtedly be difficult. But there is too much at stake to do otherwise. In some ways, the process of reform is an issue of the triumph of imagination over reality. Imagination is required to overcome entrenched realities that always seem to steer the conversation toward the next secretary-general rather than focusing on effecting real changes at the present time. The urgency of the issues at hand call for changes in thinking in time for the election in 2006, rather than waiting until 2011 or beyond. F O C U S 46 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 6 The demands currently being placed upon the U.N. are markedly different from those of just a decade ago, let alone those at the organization’s founding.