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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

  • The United Nations Security Council has endorsed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a second five-year term from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2026.
  • The Security Council recommends a candidate for the General Assembly’s 193 members to appoint.
  • The five permanent members of the Security Council hold the most influence & can eliminate a nominee with a veto.
  • The UN Charter describes the Secretary-General as the ""chief administrative officer"" of the Organization
  • The Charter also empowers the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in their opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.

Issues/challenges with the office of UN Secretary-General:

  1. The UN Charter doesn’t clearly define the functions and powers of the Secretary-General.
  2. Selection is not done entirely on merit and transparency.
  1. Critics of the appointment process say it lacks transparency and falls prey to cronyism due to the permanent Security Council members’ veto power and their secret negotiations over candidates.
  2. The secretary-general often struggles to balance the interests of other large funders and powerful member states as well.

Significance of the office:

  • Peacekeeping: The secretary-general’s office oversees peacekeeping missions and appoints the undersecretary in charge of that department.
  • Mediation: As part of the “good offices” responsibility of the position, the secretary-general practices independence and impartiality to prevent and limit conflict.