What is United Nations?

The United Nations Organization is an international organization. The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945, when 50 major countries of the world signed the United Nations Charter. Which mainly works in Five areas:

  • Maintaining International peace and Security.
  • Protecting Human Rights.
  • Providing Humanitarian aid.
  • Supporting sustainable development and climate action.
  • Upholding International Law.

Current Secretary General of United Nations 2023

In 2023, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is António Guterres. He was elected to the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations on 1 January 2017. António Guterres is the First person elected from Western Europe Country Portugal. Also, he is the First Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has also been a Former Prime Minister of the country. Antonio Guterres was born on 30 April 1949 after the establishment of the United Nations. Thereby he is also the First Secretary-General of the United Nations to be born after the establishment of the United Nations.

List of Secretaries General of United Nations from 1945 to 2023

Name Term of office Citizen of a Related Country
António Guterres 1 January 2017 – Present Portugal

Guterres was First Secretary-General to be elected from Western Europe after Kurt Waldheim from 1972 to 1981. Also, he is the First Secretary-General to be a former head of Government and born after the establishment of the United Nations.

António Guterres was also the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. Earlier, he was also the President of Socialist International from 1999 to 2005 and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.

Ban Ki-moon 01 January 2007 – 31 December 2016 South Korea

Ban Ki-moon was appointed as the Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. On 13 October 2006, he was elected the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations General Assembly. He was re-elected for a further term in 2011 after his term expired.

He was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs before becoming Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea from January 2004 to November 2006.

Kofi Annan 01 January 1997 – 31 December 2006 Ghana
On 13 December 1996, the United Nations Security Council recommended Kofi Annan to replace former Secretary-General Dr. Boutros Ghali. Ghali's second term had to face a US veto. Four days later, he started his first term from 01 January, 1997, with the election of the General Assembly. And Kofi Annan retired after his two full terms.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali 01 January 1992 – 31 December 1996 Egypt

102 Members of the Non-Aligned Movement insisted that the next Secretary General should come from Africa. As a result of China's support in the United Nations General Assembly, China was a necessary vote for members belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement to block any opposition candidate.

In a referendum conducted by the Security Council, Boutros Ghali emerged victorious by 11 votes, with five anonymous votes. In 1996, the United States used a veto against Ghali's reappointment, saying he had failed to implement necessary reforms to the United Nations.

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar 01 January 1982 – 31 December 1991 Peru

In 1981, after a five-week election deadlock, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was elected to the post of Additional Secretary-General of the United Nations against Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania.

Cuyar was the first American person to be elected to the position. After which he was re-elected for the next term in 1986. But the deputation for the third term was refused.

Kurt Waldheim 01 January 1972 – 31 December 1981 Austria

Kurt Waldheim launched an effective but discreet campaign to become Secretary General. In the third round, he was elected as the new Secretary-General even after the initial veto from China and Britain.

In 1976, China again opposed his deputation, but China weakened on the second ballot. In 1980, China again vetoed his nomination for a third term. As a result of which he could not be re-elected.

U Thant 30 November 1961 – 31 December 1971 Myanmar

After the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, he was succeeded by U.K. Thant was appointed as the new General Secretary. Another reason for his appointment was to elect representatives of developing countries, excluding non-European and non-American members.

U. Thant not only replaced Dag Hammarskjöld as the new Secretary-General, but also became the first Asian Secretary-General. After this he was re-elected for 5 years in the year 1966

Dag Hammarskjöld 10 April 1953 – 18 September 1961 Sweden

When no delegate was chosen from the candidates, Dag Hammarskjöld was elected as a substitute by the UN Security Council, who was re-elected unopposed in 1957. During his tenure, Hammarskjold tried to improve relations between Israel and the Arab states.

In 1955, during the Korea-US war, he went to China to negotiate the release of 11 American pilots. Hammarskjöld died in an air crash while on a peacekeeping mission to the Congo.

Trygve Lie 02 February 1946–10 November 1952 Norway

Trygve Lie was the country's foreign minister and former labor leader of Norway, who made recommendations to fill vacancies in the Soviet Union. Following the UN intervention in the Korean War, the Soviet Union (formally the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) vetoed Trygvi Lee's re-appointment in 1951.

But the United States voted in favor of the re-appointment of Trygve Lie to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Along with this, Trygve Lie was re-appointed to the post of General Secretary by 45 votes against 5. In the year 1952, he resigned from his post due to constant rift with the Soviet Union.

Gladwyn Jebb 24 October 1945–01 February 1946 United Kingdom
Gladwin Jebb was appointed Acting Secretary of the Committee for the Formation of the New United Nations in August 1945 after World War II. He served as the acting Secretary-General of the United Nations from October 1945 to February 1946.

Appointment process of Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Most important and Senior officer of the United Nations is the Secretary-General. They are appointed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the recommendation of the Security Council for a period of five years. After 5 years, the same person can also be re-elected for that position. According to the United Nations Charter, the Secretary-General himself selects Efficient, Capable and Honest officers or employees to assist him.

Duties of Secretary-General of United Nations:

The United Nations Charter outlines the role of the Secretary-General as being primarily administrative. He Heads the Secretariat, which runs the United Nations. The Secretariat is responsible for various functions such as Legal questions, Research, and Logistics with thousands of employees. The following are the main functions of the Secretary-General of the United Nations:

  • Resolving International conflicts.
  • Managing Peacekeeping operations.
  • Organizing International conferences.
  • Monitor the implementation of Security Council resolutions.
  • Discuss with the Members and Governments of the United Nations.
  • To inform Members about the vast issues of International concern on the agenda of the United Nations.

Powers of Secretary-General of United Nations:

The powers of the Secretary-General of the United Nations are greater than any other United Nations officer. The Secretary-General can advise the Government of any member nation and use the influence associated with his position in solving problems. He presents the annual report related to the achievements and problems of the organization before the General Assembly. The Secretary-General also draws the attention of the UN Security Council to matters threatening world peace and security in a particular region.

Interesting Facts of the United Nations:

  • The United Nations provides food (food) to 90 million people in 73 countries.
  • The United Nations is running programs for climate change and energy savings in more than 100 countries.
  • Providing assistance to 36 million refugees.
  • The immunization program is running in 58 percent of the world, saving the lives of 2.5 million children every year.
  • With 1,20,000 peacekeepers and 16 operations, the United Nations is running a peacekeeping program in 4 continents.
  • The UN has improved the lot of 370 million rural poor in the last 30 years.
  • Works to save the lives of 30 million pregnant women every year.
  • The United Nations has played an important role in liberating more than 80 countries.

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Secretary General of The United Nations FAQs:

Trygve Lee was the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. He held the position of its Secretary-General from the inception of the United Nations till 1952.

Kofi Annan was originally from Ghana. He was one of the leading statesmen of the world. He played a major role as the Secretary-General of the United Nations in resolving border disputes in various countries in Africa.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Dia Mirza as his Special Envoy for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dia Mirza is a leading actress of Indian cinema. She has also been Miss Asia Pacific.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations can hold office for a term of five years. This period begins with the election of the Secretary-General and after that a new Secretary-General is elected.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendations of the Council of Ministers. It is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a period of five years. He can also be re-elected. In accordance with the United Nations Charter, the Secretary-General personally selects an international pool of skilled, qualified and integrity personnel to assist him.

  Last update :  Tue 27 Jun 2023
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