Secretary-General’s Press Encounter, Announcing Ms. Michelle Bachelet as Head of UN Women


[Unofficial transcript. Reprinted from the UN Secretary-General's off-the-cuff remarks to the press and the public. Watch the webcast.]

SG: Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for coming at such short notice.

Today, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, as the head of UN Women, the newly created UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, established on 2 July by the General Assembly Resolution.

As you know, the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years effort and today's announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda.

This has been a top and very personal priority of mine and I therefore take special satisfaction in this appointment. Nearly four years ago, I took office determined to see the merging of the four separate gender entities into one powerful, dynamic and effective entity. UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe.

Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN Agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.

I am confident that under her strong leadership, we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.

Next week, we will host a special summit on the Millennium Development Goals. Women and children will be at the very core of our final push to realise the goals by the deadline of 2015.

Thank you very much.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, can you tell us more about the process leading up to the appointment of Michelle Bachelet? There were some rumours that she didn't want the position, and then changed her mind. And then also, can you talk a little bit more about what you hope she can accomplish in the immediate term?

SG: First of all, this process started as soon as the General Assembly adopted the Resolution, asking me to appoint the head and establish this organization.

We opened this process to the Member States and all NGOs and the civil community. We have received 26 distinguished candidates from all around the world. We have constituted a selection panel headed by the Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. [Asha Rose] Migiro, and also composed of senior advisors ? Under-Secretaries-General, and also outside panel members. The process has been very transparent, and very objective, and fair.

As a result of this selection process, I was recommended to interview myself three finalist candidates, whose names I am not going to announce for their privacy. I have interviewed them personally last week, and I decided with the unanimous consent of all the panel members. I am very pleased that former President Michelle Bachelet will bring a wealth of experience, global leadership, and global stature, in first of all establishing this new UN Women entity, and bring to it a real force to meet the expectation of many women and girls and children around the world. I am sure that under her strong leadership we will have a very strong new UN Women entity.

The General Assembly asked me that this new agency should be fully operational by 1 January 2011, next year. We have a little more than three and a half months. I will discuss this Sunday, when I appoint her formally, how we can make the process very speedy, so that we can appoint and recruit staff and we have to have our agendas. Basically we have all these structures in place. Now it is a matter of how we can speedily implement these structures and policy and visions.

I will do my best, working closely with Ms. Bachelet, to make this entity fully operational as soon as possible, meeting the expectation of so many millions and millions of women and girls around the world. I ask all the Member States and civil community leaders, and governments, and business communities, to render their full support and cooperation.

Thank you very much.