Last night, The Guardian Live and UNA-UK held the latest @1For7Billion campaign #SGdebate. Three of the 11 candidates took the stage, all males. H.E. Antonio Guterres, Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and former Prime Minister of Portugal came out strongest. H.E. Vuk Jeremic, former President of the UN General Assembly and former Foreign Minister of Serbia kept referring to his detailed platform. And H.E. Dr. Igor Luksic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro seemed the least prepared and least knowledgeable about the organisation he aspires to lead.
Moderator Mark Rice-Oxley opened the debate by acknowledging and explaining the lack of women (scheduling issues) but gender ended up being a hot topic on the night, both in the questions asked and on social media.
As there was no female candidates on stage, the question "do you consider yourself a feminist" got applauded. How could any candidate have said no? Sadly, most answers focused on the important of 50-50 workforce at the UN, rather than looking into how you can protect and further women's rights and ensure gender equality around the world.
Then a question was asked (but not really answered) about sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers.