A word on timetables

We have added a banner to UNF's "Don't Shut Down the UN" project. That reminds us that we should discuss some of the issues involving timetables.

The current Danish President has said that the UNSC will start considering names in July. More likely, they will discuss process, and the discussion of names will occur in private.

At the same time, in Geneva, trade negotiators will be trying to get an agreement on Doha. For technical reasons, somewhere between the end of July and mid-August is really the last possible chance to complete Doha before US Trade Promotion Authority expires in June of 2007. (Did you know that it takes the WTO Secretariat about 8 months to produce a document once the agreement has been made? And then US law requires that Congress get 90 days to look at an agreement before it gets voted on). Incidentally, this deadline could take up some of Ban Ki-moon's time in July.

The Security Council doesn't really meet in August. Therefore, there will be deals quietly cut and travelling by the leading candidates.

Then September 12th, the General Assembly session starts. The General Assembly will be occupied by platitudes, but there will be some issues to address.

First, the US dues issue comes up in September. Will they pay, or will they "shut down the UN?" By backing up the expiration of the cap, they may have more traction in the selection process.

Second, the General Assembly will begin to move in force on their role in picking the UNSG. As the Australian Ambassador has said, this will be the most important thing done by the UN this year.

At the same time, if trade negotiators are not successful, it will be a terrible blow. One of the international institutions will have failed in some sense, despite absurd and overly ambitious timetables.

So September should be interesting. The UN should be running out of money. Doha could fail. Iran will not be resolved. And the UN will be looking for leadership. What impact will that have? We don't know. But it sure will be interesting.

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