The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG), is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations.
The current Secretary-General is Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who took office on 1 January 2007. His first term expired on 31 December 2011. He was re-elected, unopposed, to a second term on 21 June 2011.
Secretaries-General serve for five-year terms that can be renewed indefinitely, although none so far has held office for more than two terms. The United Nations Charter provides for the Secretary-General to be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. As a result, the selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent Members of the Security Council. While the appointment and approval process of the Secretary-General is outlined in the UN Charter, specific guidelines have emerged regarding the term limits and selection process. These include a limit to two five-year terms, regional (continental) rotation of the appointee’s national origin, and the appointee may not be a citizen of any of the Security Council’s five permanent members.
Responsibilities of the Secretary-General are further outlined in Articles 98 through 100, which states that he shall act as the officer "in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council, and shall perform other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs". He is responsible, according to Article 99, for making an annual report to the General Assembly as well as notifying the Security Council on matters which "in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security". Other than these few guidelines, little else is dictated by the Charter. Interpretation of the Charter has varied between...
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