Research Report

Posted 16 October 2015
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Appointing the UN Secretary-General

This is Security Council Report’s Research Report on Appointing the UN Secretary-General. To view the full report, please download the PDF.

The most important decision that the Security Council will take in 2016 will be the selection of the ninth Secretary-General of the UN. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term ends on 31 December 2016. Both the General Assembly and the Council have already begun considering the process. Unlike in previous years, a number of advocacy groups have chosen to focus on this issue in order to bring greater transparency and inclusiveness to the selection process. Coupled with the changes in technology and communications since the last competitive election for a UN Secretary-General, this selection process promises to attract scrutiny from a wide and diverse audience.

Finding the right person for the role will be crucial to the future of the UN. The world has changed dramatically since the position was created 70 years ago. The next Secretary-General will take on the job at a time when the organisation is struggling to cope with increasingly intractable conflicts, deteriorating security situations and humanitarian and environmental disasters.

As the time for the appointment decision approaches, Security Council Report will analyse and preview specific developments, Council dynamics and possible options regarding the selection process. At this stage, our purpose in writing this Research Report is to provide relevant factual background on the history of the process and procedure, and proposals for reform. We also cover recent Council and General Assembly developments as Council members begin considering the process for the selection of the next Secretary-General.

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