Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For those who are interested...

...there was a straw vote (i.e. official but non-binding) on the Director General post at the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

You may remember in the last round of voting there were 2 candidates from Japan and South Africa respectively. In order to win, the candidate has to gain 24 votes, or two thirds of the Board. The Japanese candidate gained 23, there was one abstention and 11 went to the South African.

In the straw vote yesterday, there were additional candidates - people from Slovenia, Belgian and Spain. The Slovenian and the Belgian did not win any votes. The Spaniard gained 4, the Japanese 20 and the South African still had 11.

15 countries are not too happy with Japan, obviously, but not all of them are keen on the lone developing nation candidate. I wonder if the real vote - on July 2nd - is going to be an impasse.

The best solution? A compromise candidate like my husband. (OK, I would say that, wouldn't I? But that is not going to happen, because Malaysian pledged its vote to Japan for reasons I am sure you can guess. I suspect - a personal assessment as I have no insider info! - that many other developing nations did exactly the same thing.)

Watch this space for the next exciting episode...

5 comments:

Jo said...

Wouldn't it be nice to find people voting without hidden agendas. Must be very aggravating for the two of you.

Catherine S said...

Personally I find it rather amusing, if not somewhat distasteful that so much time and money is being wasted to appoint a new Director General. I mean, it's no secret that the rest of this Nobel Peace prize-winning organisation is usually staffed quite effortlessly - according to the principles of good old nepotism!

Glenda Larke said...

Is there actually that much money spent, Catherine?

Most countries have missions in Vienna - or nearby - who deal with things like this straw vote, on the instructions of their governments. It is just part of their daily business and involves no extra expenditure.

Where does the UN spend much money on this? And remember it has been 12 years since it was last done anyway!!! Hardly an extravagance. This is not the US election, after all. The UN itself doesn't spend money lobbying!

Of course, the government of a particular candidate might spend a lot of money, and certainly this has been the case in this particular election with one particular candidate. That is their choice and only their taxpayers have a right to complain about waste of money.

However, mostly, it is very low key and the lobbying is done by the missions on the behalf of their country's candidate.

I have no experience with the Agency since my husband left in 1992, it's true. Nepotism? It must have changed somewhat. I think a number of factors came into play back then, and I would be surprised if it had changed much. Regional diversity was considered very, very important. There was a deliberate attempt to increase the number of women in the higher professional and technical positions. Often preference was given to people from poorer countries, and so on. Language skills are a plus.

As with most organizations, certainly who you know is important, not so much because of "nepotism" but because a recommendation from someone who knows what you are capable of is worth its weight in gold. Think about it. If you were the head of a department and had 10 applications, all from people with similar qualifications, in front of you. How do you tell them apart? On paper they all look good. Ah, but one comes with a glowing recommendation from someone you respect who works in the agency, or perhaps one of the candidates is someone you have personally seen at work back in his own country and you saw he did a good job - who would you choose?

My husband was chosen for the post of DDG by Dr Hans Blix, the then DG, whom he did not know. I believe it was on the recommendation of several people - who had worked with my husband over the years on Agency matters at regional and local level and who been impressed with his hard work and organizational skills - that Dr Blix decided to take him on. Is that nepotism?

webfaery said...

I suppose there's no chance, at this late date, of the Malaysian government being lobbied to resubmit Noramly as a candidate? They have, after all, already changed their mind once.

glenda larke said...

Dunno, Webfaery... Nothing will happen while the Japanese is a candidate. We will see if Japan can convince more people to switch votes.