UN Security Council endorses Secretary General Guterres for second term
The UN Security Council has endorsed Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a second five-year term- from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2026.
UN Secretary General:
The UN Charter describes the Secretary-General as “chief administrative officer” of the Organization, who shall act in that capacity and perform “such other functions as are entrusted” to them by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs.
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.
The Security Council recommends a candidate for the General Assembly’s 193 members to appoint. Although all UN members get a voice in the secretary-general’s selection, the five permanent members of the Security Council hold the most influence. Any one of them can eliminate a nominee with a veto.
Issues/challenges with the office of UN Secretary General:
- The UN Charter doesn’t clearly define the functions and powers of the Secretary General.
- Selection is not done entirely on merit and transparency.
- 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.
- 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.