Author: Akanksha, School Of Law, NMIMS


United Nations Organization is or the United nation (UN) is an international organization that aims to maintain international peace and security among different sovereign nations. It also works on a path to build fraternal relations among them. UN was founded on 25th April 1945 after negotiation and delegations among the allied big four that is the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, the United States, and China from September 21 to October 7 in the Dumbarton Oaks Conference or the Washington Conversations in order to achieve peace, international cooperation and also prevent future calamities that were destructed by the violence of world war II.

At its elementary stage UN consist of 51 member nation and four veto power country but with the passage of time the UN expanded its horizon to include 193 other sovereign nation along with others areas of conflict and concern, currently UN has six principal organs namely the General assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social council the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariats.

Appointment of Secretary-General:-

The goal and the agenda of the UN and its agencies are supervised and looked after through a chair ( Secretary-General) who is the chief administrative officer Of the united nation. He is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, whose role and responsibilities along with the United Nations secretariat in general are mentioned in article 97 to 101 of chapter X of the United Nations Charter.

The Secretary-general of United Nations is appointed by the United Nations General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council under the provisions of Article 97 of the UN Charter which states that “The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary-General and such staff as the Organization may require. The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. He shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization”. And therefore the selection of Secretary-General is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

The general assembly resolution of 1946 mentions that the nomination and appointment of the secretary-general should be discussed at private meetings, and a vote in either the Security Council or the General Assembly if taken, should be by secret ballot. And the documents related to the appointment of Secretary-General as per the trend and previously adopted precedents are as follows:-

1. Security Council meets in a closed meeting to decide on a candidate

2. Security Council adopts a resolution to recommend the candidate.

3. General Assembly meets to consider the recommendation of the Security Council.

4. Security Council transmits the recommendation to the General Assembly

5. General Assembly adopts a resolution to appoint the Secretary-General

6. Member states send letters to nominate a candidate

The post of the Secretary-general in itself is s dignified and full of responsibilities. The secretary-general of the united nation should basically be a member of the UN. The appointee may not be a citizen of any of the five permanent member nations. although there is no mandatory qualification mentioned in order to hold the post the unofficial qualifications for the same can be extracted from the precedent set through the prevision appointments. If we talk about the tenure and the term it is not specified but discretionary, yet the general length for which Secretary generals have always been appointed is a span of 5 years. Since 1961 every secretary-general has been appointed for the second term except U. Thant who had been appointed three times. No candidate from the Permanent members has ever been nominated for this position as it would lead to the concentration of power in the UN which may cause unfair practices. The General Assembly resolution 51/241 proudly stated that, in the appointment of the best candidate, due regard should be given to regional rotation of the appointee's national origin and to the gender equality which is respectable as an ideology yet there is no woman candidate to serve the position of secretary-general. Currently, Antonio Guterres is serving as the 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations who has been appointed on 1st January 2017. Another Secretary-general since 1945 has been:-

a. Trygve Lie, from Norway, 1946-1952

b. Dag Hammarskjold, from Sweden, 1953-1961

c. U Thant, from Burma (now Myanmar), 1961-1971

d. Kurt Waldheim, from Austria, 1972-1981

e. Javier Perez de Cuellar, from Peru, 1982-19916

f. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, from Egypt, 1992-1996

g. Kofi A. Annan, from Ghana, 1997-2006

h. Ban Ki-Moon, from the Republic of Korea, 2007-2016

Responsibilities of the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General of the UN is a symbol of intellectual being, a depiction of United Nations ideals, and a spokesperson who talks for the interests of the world's population, especially the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and overlooked beings among them. The UN Charter portrays the Secretary-General as "chief administrative officer" of the Organization, who will work in that capacity and perform functions entrusted to him/her by other organs and council of the United Nations organization. The provisions under the UN Charter also empowers him to keep notice and bring to the attention any matter which has the potential to threaten and destroy the existence and maintenance of international harmony and security" in front of the security council. The Secretary-General has a duty to uphold the values, morals, and ethical authority of the UN, and stand for peace and harmony even at the risk of changing, challenging, or any disagreeing circumstances by the side of member states.

This tension accompanies the Secretary-General in his day to day work, it includes matters related to attendance at United Nation session, consultations with government officials, world leaders, and others. He is also believed to travel across the globe in order to keep himself updated about the platter of issues of international concern and be in touch with the peoples of the Organization's Member States. Every year, the Secretary-General of the UN issues a report in relation to the work of the UN that appraises its activities and frame the future priorities. He also holds the post of Chairman of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which is responsible to bring together, twice a year, the Executive Heads of all UN programs, funds, and specialized agencies in order to coordination and cooperation the entire range of substantive and management issues in the United Nations System. These aforementioned guidelines both define the powers of the office and grant it considerable scope for action.

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