"But it was Latvia's President Vaira Vike-Frieberga that achieved the surprise victory, pushing pasttheother challengers to secure an impressive if notstrong third place standing. On top ofbeing the only non-Asian in the race,thiswas an outstanding showing fora candidate that entered the race less than two weeks ago." Writes www.UNSG.org)
"Why I Should Run the U.N." – The New York Times asks questions to the candidates.
"The Op-Ed page asked all seven candidates to respond to two questions. First, we asked them to discuss an avoidable mistake the United Nations had made within the last five years. Second, we asked them what major reform they would undertake as secretary general. Five candidates gave us their answers."
AS a former refugee, I attach special importance to ensuring peace, security and the protection of the most vulnerable groups. Too often during the past five years, the United Nations has focused on the letter, not the spirit, of its charter when it needed to protect civilians caught in warfare. The international community's responsibility to protect must not be an empty concept but a genuine obligation, and United Nations peacekeeping mandates must be more robust.
Just as significant, if not more so for the long-term sustainable development of our planet, are the Millennium Development Goals. Progress toward the goals is still unacceptably slow. The statistics on infant mortality and maternal health, among others, remain particularly distressing. Unless we make better progress, the vicious circle of poverty, social strife and military conflict will require us to devote ever more resources to peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. At the same time, we should pursue intercultural and interreligious dialogue in order to find creative new ways to address the growing threats posed by terrorism, intolerance and religious violence.
To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and to make the United Nations more effective both in its administration and in the field, we need to streamline its management, making it more accountable and transparent. If we eliminate unnecessary duplications, we can better finance our education, social and economic development efforts.
— VAIRA VIKE-FREIBERGA, the president of Latvia.