SELECTING AND APPOINTING
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

The position of Secretary-General is one of great importance that requires a person with the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The position of Secretary-General is one of great importance that requires a person with the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

As per Article 97 of the Charter, the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. In 2015, the General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution that set out a new transparent, open and inclusive process to select and appoint the Secretary-General.

This process was successfully implemented during the 70th session of the General Assembly. For the first time, there was a clearly defined nomination procedure. Candidates were invited to provide a vision statement and were able to participate in informal dialogues with the entire General Assembly. Unlike in previous years, civil society and the wider global public were able to engage with the candidates. The process culminated with the General Assembly appointing Mr. António Guterres as Secretary-General on 13 October 2016.

The five-year term of Mr. Guterres concludes on 31 December 2021.

The President of the 75th session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, is committed to ensuring that the selection and appointment process remains guided by the principles of transparency and inclusivity. Working closely with the President of the Security Council, he will ensure that all relevant General Assembly mandates related to the selection and appointment process are fully implemented.

General Assembly resolution 69/321 requests the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council to “start the process of soliciting candidates for the position of Secretary-General through a joint letter addressed to all Member States.”

SELECTION AND APPOINTMENT PROCESS

Step 1

Joint letter 

A joint letter is sent by the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council to officially launch the selection and appointment process for the position of Secretary-General. 

Presentation of candidates

The Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council will jointly circulate to all Member States, on an ongoing basis, the names of individuals that have been submitted for consideration. The names and supporting documents will also be published on this webpage. 

Step 2

Step 3

Vision statement and dialogue

Candidates for the position of Secretary-General will be invited to submit a vision statement and to participate in an informal dialogue with Member States. Informal dialogues with candidates in the General Assembly will take place before the Security Council begins its selection by May or June 2021, and may continue, if necessary, throughout the process of selection. 

Security Council recommendation

As per the Charter, the Security Council makes a recommendation to the General Assembly. Since 1996, the Council had voted unanimously to recommend one candidate to the General Assembly. Last time, the relevant resolution was: S/RES/2311 (2016).

Step 4

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Step 5

Appointment by the General Assembly

The General Assembly appoints the Secretary-General through a resolution. In the past, the draft resolution has been submitted by the President of the General Assembly and adopted by consensus. Last time, the relevant resolution was: A/RES/71/4.

Start of the Secretary-General’s mandate 

The term of the Secretary-General begins on 1 January 2022. The term length will be specified in the relevant selection and appointment resolutions by the Security Council and General Assembly. Recent Secretaries-General have been appointed for five-year terms.

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Step 6