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In UN Musical Chairs, Baumann to UNECE, Kane Disarming, New Communications?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 27, updated -- For weeks Inner City Press has reported that current UN Under Secretary General Angela Kane of Germany is up for transfer either to the top Disarmament post or to the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

  Then fellow Germany Michael von der Schulenburg was removed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from his post in Sierra Leone, reportedly at the request of the government there which wants a compliant UN envoy to assist in re-election.

  In the calculus of Ban's UN, this leaves Germany "needing" another top post. What to do?

Monday well placed sources told Inner City Press that a solution being considered it to send to UNECE in Europe not Kane but rather fellow German Franz Baumann, often the subject of UN staff fight back, and then give Kane the Disarmament post. Another said UNECE, vacated by Jan Kubis, would go German, but to "a bigger German."

  What of the other Disarmament contenders? On Friday Inner City Press confirmed that the Philippines' Permanent Representative, who worked himself hoarse chairing a previous disarmament related conference, is definitely interested in the job, as is his counterpart from Peru. (Neither country has ratified the treaty on cluster munitions, as we have noted.)

  A well placed UN source, responding to Inner City Press' reporting on who's in line to replaced Vijay Nambiar as Ban's chief of staff, laughed and called it a "position without power, Kim Won-soo does all the work." The source continued that Ban will continue with Kim, with an eye to post-UN positions in South Korea.

  Part of the problem here is communication. And the position as Ban's head of communications, held by Michael Myer, has been advertised for new applicants, as well as executive office power being left empty by the next UNAMA Deputy in Afghanistan. Can't tell the players with a scorecard - watch this site.

The job notice says the speech writing reports to the chief of staff, through the deputy chief of staff: Kim Won-soo:

The Director of the Speech Writing and Communications Unit reports to the Chef de Cabinet, through the Deputy Chef de Cabinet. The Director will be responsible for the following:

· Provide combined policy and communications advice and expertise to the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Chef de Cabinet and/or Deputy Chef de Cabinet, in a strategic, coherent and effective way, and ensure that the Secretary-General’s message is heard by audiences in all regions of the world;

· Lead efforts to position, or re-position, the Secretary-General or the Organization in the debates of the day; and to raise any other urgent or sensitive issues that are already in the media and require a response, or may appear in the media in a way that may adversely affect the Secretary-General and the Organization unless properly and quickly addressed;

· Ensure that the Spokesperson is equipped with coordinated, considered guidance on specific issues for the daily noon briefing, or as required; advise or take decisions on (i) which issues, if any, merit a statement by the Secretary- General; (ii) whether and when the Secretary-General or his senior representatives should appear before the media on the key issues of the day; and (iii) what news articles or editorials require a response;

· Work closely with the Head of the Department of Public Information and the Spokesman to ensure coordinated and relevant communications priorities;

· Attend, as required, meetings chaired by the Secretary-General or the Deputy Secretary-General on high-profile issues, with a view to formulating and moving forward a coherent and coordinated message and updated guidance on the issue concerned;

· Represent the Secretary-General in public fora, including in the media, with a view to amplifying the Secretary-General’s message; advise the Secretary- General on media opportunities in consultation with the Spokesperson, and provide guidance on matters pertaining to the media;

· Draft major speeches; review, edit and clear a wide range of texts for the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and others in the name of the Secretary-General – speeches, remarks, toasts, op-ed articles, messages, talking points, press statements, blurbs for the back covers of books, etc. – on issues that cover the entire spectrum of the United Nations agenda;

· Lead consultations with the Secretary-General and his senior advisors on both the form and content of speeches and other materials to ensure that the Secretary-General’s vision and the Organization’s institutional policy are well articulated;

· Attend strategy sessions on political issues and communication efforts; liaise with the appropriate departments in the Secretariat/UN agencies, members of civil society and private sector;

· Manage the Speechwriting Unit to ensure all deadlines are met and that issues, as they arise, are attended to with immediate effect, and in an efficient manner; Oversee the maintenance of the speech schedule, the assessment of incoming requests;

· Act as the principal interlocutor with UN offices and entities on matters that relate to speeches to be prepared for the Secretary-General and other senior managers within the EOSG, and to other communications that may be sent out on behalf of the Secretary-General.


Education: Advanced university degree in political sciences, international relations, journalism, public administration or related field, including advanced training courses in strategic communications.

Experience: Over 15 years of progressively responsible experience in substantive areas, including in the communications and media fields; extensive experience in drafting high-quality materials, including speeches, in English; thorough knowledge of international political, economic and social affairs and of the United Nations itself.

Work experience in varied assignments in the Organization an asset.

Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of French is highly desirable.

Other skills: Demonstrated outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal, including prior publication of articles, studies, chronicles, books etc

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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