March 2006

The campaign to support the candidacy of Jayantha Dhanapala, Sri Lanka’s official candidate for the post of United Nations Secretary-General has stepped up a gear.

There are many more voices around the world calling for the 5 permanent members of the United Nations to give serious consideration to the nomination of Jayantha Dhanapala, to succeed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who completes his second term in December 2006.

 Dhanapala is the ideal global candidate, he maybe Asian but his views are universal, he speaks with passion on disarmament, aids, gender issues, war and peace, the environment, poverty – through global eyes. He is the ideal global candidate for the top job at the UN. His experience includes very strong managerial skills at the United Nations, years of experience in the diplomatic field……Dhanapala is so much at ease with himself…..he makes people feel valued whether you come from Africa, the Far East, Europe or the Americas…..Dhanapala has the ‘people touch.’

 Jayantha Dhanapala is one of three Asian candidates nominated by their governments. South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai have joined Jayantha Dhanapala as the official candidates from Asia. Asia received a huge boost when The 53-member African Group at the United Nations, the second largest regional group after Asia, formally expressed its support for an Asian as the next secretary-general of the United Nations. Together with the Asian Group they are now a powerful voice for an Asian candidate to succeed Kofi Annan. China and Russia have said it is Asia’s turn. The US and Britain say ‘no’ with US Ambassador John Bolton expressing strong support for an Eastern European candidate – according to news reports the US are backing former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. France says ‘possibly an Asian candidate.’So the 5 permanent members of the UN do not agree at this moment in time on Kofi Annan’s successor.

Dhanapala remains unfazed as he sets about getting the message across – that he means business when it comes to reforming the United Nations. When he was 19 years old he won an International Herald Tribune essay contest with an essay titled ‘The World We Want,’ the young school boy even met with Senator John F.Kennedy in 1957. Speaking at the launch of the website on Jayantha Dhanapala in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said: ‘It is imperative that the UN finds itself a leader who is able to marshal the necessary political goodwill to renew the Organization, consolidate its strengths, and rectify its shortcomings. The UN needs the leadership of a person who has the vision, experience and diplomatic skills to re-engineer the Organization, so that it will be able to meet the challenges ahead, and the person to me – is undoubtedly Jayantha Dhanapala.’

 The reforms of the U.N. will serve not only the U.S., but all 191 members,” said Jayantha Dhanapala at a function to launch the web site – he is deeply committed to such reforms. In fact he has been speaking about reform agenda since the 1990s. Jayantha Dhanapala remains a very strong candidate – he has what it takes to provide the leadership that the UN needs. Furthermore he is known as a man of integrity and character with an unblemished record as a diplomat. By Ivan Corea


AFTER a gap of 30 years, it is now Asia`s turn to fill the post of the next secretary-general of UN, said Jayatha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, who is one of the candidates. ‘I think I have a very good chance because my candidacy is distinguished by the fact that I have had a long record as a national and international diplomat, including being accredited to the UN,’ Dhanapala said in Doha.

 Dhanapala is currently the senior advisor to the Sri Lankan president. ‘He was invited to manage the peace process by the government in mid-2004 after a distinguished diplomatic career, peace-builder and disarmament expert,’ states his website. ‘He has been an articulate champion of non-discriminatory global norms, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals, and the general concerns of developing countries in the collective interest of the international community.’ The Sri Lankan candidate, who is supported by both the ruling party and the opposition back home, will be meeting Qatar`s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs HE Ahmed Abdullah al-Mahmoud today.

 Besides seeking Doha`s support, he will also hand over a letter from his president to HH the Emir. Qatar, currently a member of the Security Council (UNSC), has a crucial role to play, the candidate said. The UNSC, which has 15 members, usually elects a person. The name is then recommended to the General Assembly, which endorses the selection. This has been the practice so far. Dhanapala said he has the advantage of being a diplomat who has been looking at the UN from outside as well as working within the world body.

 ‘At a time when we are talking about reforms, it is a good asset to have. The other advantage is that I am from Sri Lanka, which traditionally has been a moderate country. I have been able to build consensus on world issues, including the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.’Though he is not confident of his victory, he said he has not met any criticism so far to his candidacy. ‘My candidature is seen as from a qualified individual who has close understanding of the working of the UN and I have a very comprehensive experience in various aspects of UN work.’

There is by common understanding that the next secretary-general should be from Asia because it is over 30 years since U Thant of Myanmar completed his tenure. ‘And it is appropriate that a country from a continent that contributes 60% of the global population and 25% of global economic output and a continent which has been the cradle of several great civilisations and religious philosophies should be able to provide leadership.’ There are two other declared candidates – Thailand`s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Surakiart Sathirathai and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon. ‘But it is possible that there may be other candidates.’ Elections will have to take place before the end of the year, but he said, the decision might take place in September or October.

 If elected, UN reforms are certain to be at the top of his agenda. ‘These reforms need an experienced hand to implement.’ Dhanapala is on his way to Stockholm to attend an international conference on weapons of mass destruction. He will also be visiting other Gulf countries. Source:Gulf Times

A new website was recently launched in Colombo to introduce Sri Lanka’s official candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General, Jayantha Dhanapala, to a wider audience – right across the worldwide web.The present Secretary-General of the United Nations will relinquish his post in December 2006 and the question people are asking: ‘Who will be Annan’s successor?’ China and Russia say it is Asia’s turn. The United States and possibly Britain are not so sure. They would rather have open competition from around the world. They want a strong manager.French President Jacques Chirac said the successor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan must be a leader who can unite the international community. The 5 permanent memebers of the United Nations -the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain have to recommend a successor. At this moment in time they are divided over the issue. Kofi Annan’s successor must be approved by the General Assembly, based on a recommendation from the Security Council.

 Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka is a very strong candidate. He is highly respected as a diplomat by the international community. Dhanapala was an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. He has stong managerial skills and has gravitas. Dhanapala is known as a ‘people person’ who is at ease with himself and at ease with others. Dhanapala is a leader and is known as a man of integrity and character. His biography is impressive: Dhanapala has had a distinguished career spanning the private sector, government, the United Nations and academia from 1962-2004 interacting with different levels of society including Heads of State and Government and a wide diversity of nationalities.

 Following a stint in the private sector in Sri Lanka, he ranked first in seeking entry into the Sri Lankan Foreign Service in 1965 and served thereafter in diplomatic postings in London, Beijing, Washington D.C., New Delhi and Geneva culminating in Ambassadorial appointments in Geneva (1984-87) accredited to the UN and in Washington D.C. (1995-97). During his diplomatic career he engaged pro-actively and innovatively in political, disarmament, economic, trade, human rights and cultural matters in both bilateral and multilateral contexts.

 He represented Sri Lanka and chaired groups in Non-aligned Movement and SAARC Conferences, Commonwealth meetings, Conference on Disarmament and disarmament treaty related meetings, UNCTAD, Commission on Human Rights and other human rights bodies, ILO, WHO, WIPO, WMO etc. Dhanapala was widely acclaimed for his Presidency of the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, a landmark event in disarmament history, because of his crafting of a package of decisions balancing the twin objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and the concerns of the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states which was adopted without a vote. He was later invited by the Government of Australia to serve as a member of the Canberra Commission together with a Group of 17 eminent international personalities publishing an influential report on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation in 1996.

Schooled and experienced in corporate management, Dhanapala integrated these skills and experiences into successful governmental, diplomatic mission and international organization administration. Dhanapala has an in-depth knowledge of the United Nations gained from 10-years of exposure in working in a senior management capacity in the United Nations. As an efficient and effective senior manager he gained valuable experience in human resource and budgetary management working smoothly with staff representatives and delegations of member states. First, he served as Director (D2) of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva (1987-92) directing policy oriented research in an autonomous think-tank broadening the financial base through fund-raising with a wider group of countries and Foundations.

 He acted to expand the area of research to include non-military threats to security, handbooks to assist delegations to the Conference on Disarmament, providing opportunities for training of researchers from developing countries, networking of research institutes in regions etc. and increasing the volume and impact of UNIDIR publications. He is currently the Senior Adviser to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka.

 Jayantha Dhanapala has spoken out about the reform agenda from the 1990s and is committed to reforming the UN. I met him in 1998 when I attended a UN Conference on Civil Conflict organised by UNIS. During that visit I had the privilege of meeting several Ambassadors – they spoke highly of the Assistant Secretary-General.This candidate is a first class diplomat who made a reputation as a solid UN Manager. The organisation needs someone of Dhanapala’s calibre to take the UN forward. by Ivan Corea

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