Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.


The Secretariat — an international staff working in duty stations around the world — carries out the diverse day-to-day work of the Organization. It services the other principal organs of the United Nations and administers the programmes and policies laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term.

The duties carried out by the Secretariat are as varied as the problems dealt with by the United Nations. These range from administering peacekeeping operations to mediating international disputes, from surveying economic and social trends and problems to preparing studies on human rights and sustainable development. Secretariat staff also inform the world's communications media about the work of the United Nations; organize international conferences on issues of worldwide concern; and interpret speeches and translate documents into the Organization's official languages.

The Secretariat has around 43,000 staff members around the world (source: Secretary-General's report A/67/329).

As international civil servants, staff members and the Secretary-General answer to the United Nations alone for their activities, and take an oath not to seek or receive instructions from any Government or outside authority. Under the Charter, each Member State undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and to refrain from seeking to influence them improperly in the discharge of their duties.

The United Nations, while headquartered in New York, maintains a significant presence in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, Santiago and Vienna, and has offices all over the world.

The UN currently has 16 peace operations, deployed on four continents. Serving the cause of peace in a violent world is a dangerous occupation. Since the founding of the United Nations, hundreds of brave men and women have given their lives in its service.

Secretariat Structure

Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG)

Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)

Office of Legal Affairs (OLA)

Department of Political Affairs (DPA)

Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA)

Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)

Department of Field Support (DFS)

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM)

Department of Public Information (DPI)

Department of Safety and Security (DSS)

Department of Management (DM)

UN Offices Away From Headquarters

Geneva Nairobi Vienna

UN Regional Commissions

Internal Justice Bodies

International Criminal Tribunals

Special Advisers, Representatives and Envoys

Other Offices

Additional Information

  • Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations [ST/SGB/2002/2]
  • Secretariat Information Circulars
  • Secretariat Administrative Instructions