[Diplomacy] UN Secretary General: Selection, Appointment, Powers, Signifiance, Limitations, Antonio Guterres for UPSC Prelims and Mains GS2DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
- Selection process of UN Secretary General
- Latest selection: Antonio Guterres
- Informal rotation system
- UN Secretary General: significance and limitations
Selection process of UN Secretary General
Q. Discuss in brief, the selection procedure for the post of United Nations Secretary General.
संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासचिव पद की चयन प्रक्रिया की संक्षिप्त में चर्चा करें।
- Nations send applications of candidates to UN Security Council (UNSC) [15 members]
- UNSC takes a series of “Straw Polls” to decide the most favored candidate.
- In this straw-poll, the UNSC members have three options:
- encourage a candidate
- discourage a candidate
- If permanent member gives ‘discourage‘ vote to a candidate, then it’s same as exercise of veto power. e.g. In 2006 selection, USA vetoed Shashi Tharoor, because President Bush wanted winner from his stronger ally (South Korea’s Ban Ki Moon).
- To become the UNSC Topper, a candidate must win minimum 10 out of 15 votes (=2/3rd Majority) and no veto from a permanent member.
- After clearing UPSC UNSC, Topper’s is forwarded to DoPT UN General assembly (193 members) for final confirmation.
- So far in history, UNGA has never rejected any name forwarded by UNSC.
- Term: five years. Technically, there is no age, attempt or term limit. But no Secretary general has served for more than two terms i.e. 5 x 2 = 10 years. Ban ki Moon’s second term ended on 31/12/2016.
Latest Topper: Antonio Guterres – the 9th Secretary General of UN
- Antonio Guterres will replace Ban Ki Moon (S.Korea) as ninth UN secretary general from 1/1/2017.
- Earlier, Antonio has served as Portugal’s PM and UN high commissioner for refugees.
- So far no woman secretary-general.
- This time, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova and few other women had thrown their hats in the ring but no success in the UNSC voting.
Informal rotation system
- Traditionally, candidates from the Permanent Five members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), are not considered for the position of Secretary-General to avoid further concentration of power within the UN.
- As per informal arrangement, UN Secretary General job rotates among Four Regions:
UN Secretary General: function, significance and limitations
Q. “UN Secretary General is neither ‘Secretary’ nor ‘General’ of united nations.” Examine critically.
“संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासचिव न तो संयुक्त राष्ट्र के ‘सचिव’ है न तो ‘सेनापति”. समालोचनात्मक परिक्षण करे.
|Significance of Secretary General||Limitations of his office|
|He’s the chief administrative officer of United nations. [UN Charter #97]||
|He is answerable to every nation on earth — and no nation at all.||
|In this Left hand column, we learned what he can do via moral authority and personal initiative.||In this Right hand column, we saw how his efforts can be frustrated by P5, 1st world, and bureaucratic redtapes.|
- Red tapes of UN bureaucracy, money power of first world and Veto power of P5 create obstacles for the Secretary General.
- Therefore, effectiveness of UN Secretary General depends more on the moral authority of the office-bearer than the formal authority of office itself. (similar to Aag Paani aur Rajanbhai).