Secretary General of the United Nations

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Secretary General of the
United Nations
Antonio Guterres
Acting Secretary General António Guterres (since January 1, 2017)
Official seat UN Headquarters ,
New York City , New York , United States
United StatesUnited States 
Term of office 5 years
Nominated by Security Council
Elected by General Assembly
Head of United NationsU.N. United Nations
Deputy NigeriaNigeria Amina J. Mohammed
(Vice Secretary General)

The Secretary General of the United Nations ( English abbreviation UNSG ) is the chairman of the UN Secretariat , one of the primary organs of the United Nations . The Secretary General is the chief administrative officer of the UN and is therefore primarily responsible for the administration of the UN. In addition, he represents the organization externally. In the self-portrayal of the United Nations, its role is described as "equal parts diplomat and administrator, civil servant and CEO and as a symbol for the United Nations and its ideals".

The current incumbent has been the Portuguese António Guterres since January 1, 2017 .


The UN Secretary General is appointed by the General Assembly for five years on the proposal of the Security Council . Re-election is possible. Usually, the office of Secretary General rotates across the individual continents / geographic regions after two terms of office. However, this rule does not have to be followed.

Trygve Halvdan Lie was appointed as the first official general secretary on February 1, 1946 . Previously, the office had been held provisionally by the British Sir Gladwyn Jebb . The office of Vice Secretary-General has also existed since 1997 (this is currently held by the Nigerian Amina J. Mohammed ). The electoral process is discussed by international experts as opaque and undemocratic. You are calling for a democratic electoral process that involves civil society more closely.


The Secretary General coordinates the day-to-day work of the UN and takes part in the meetings of the main bodies, with the exception of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) . It reports annually to the General Assembly on its activities. He is responsible for drawing up the budget as well as for carrying out the financial management. He represents the organization internationally and as a whole vis-à-vis the member states of the United Nations . He fulfills his political role, for example, by traveling to crisis areas, holding talks with governments and submitting proposals or peace plans to resolve conflicts. The special representatives appointed by the Secretary General who, as his local representatives, coordinate peace missions and / or the work of the UN on the ground are becoming increasingly important . One of the Secretary-General's primary political tasks is to draw the Security Council's attention to any matter which he believes could endanger peace (Article 99 of the UN Charter ).

The general secretaries made different use of the very imprecisely described competences.


The UN Secretary General receives a gross annual salary of US $ 209,691 (as of 2017).

List of General Secretaries

No. image Surname Term of office nationality Remarks
- Gladwyn Jebb Gladwyn Jebb Oct. 24, 1945 -
February 2, 1946
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Acting Secretary General
1 Trygve Lie Trygve Halvdan Lie Feb. 2, 1946 -
November 10, 1952
NorwayNorway Norway Resigned
2 Dag Hammarskjold Dag Hammarskjold Apr 10, 1953 -
September 18, 1961
SwedenSweden Sweden Was killed in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia)
3 U thant Sithu U Thant Nov 3, 1961 -
December 31, 1971
Burma Burma Acting Secretary General from November 3, 1961 to November 30, 1962
4th Kurt Waldheim Kurt Waldheim Jan. 1, 1972 -
December 31, 1981
AustriaAustria Austria China vetoed a third term
5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Jan. 1, 1982 -
December 31, 1991
PeruPeru Peru No application for a third term
6th Boutros Boutros-Ghali Boutros Boutros-Ghali Jan. 1, 1992 -
December 31, 1996
EgyptEgypt Egypt United States vetoed a second term
7th Kofi Annan Kofi Annan Jan. 1, 1997 -
December 31, 2006
GhanaGhana Ghana No application for a third term
8th Ban Ki-moon Ban Ki-moon Jan. 1, 2007 -
December 31, 2016
Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea No application for a third term
9 Antonio Guterres Antonio Guterres since Jan. 1, 2017 PortugalPortugal Portugal Successful re-election for second term of office

List of Vice Secretaries General

image Surname Term of office nationality
Louise Fréchette Louise Fréchette March 2, 1998 -
March 31, 2006
CanadaCanada Canada
Mark Malloch Brown Mark Malloch Brown Apr 1, 2006 -
December 31, 2006
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Asha-Rose Migiro Asha-Rose Migiro Feb. 1, 2007 -
TanzaniaTanzania Tanzania
Jan Eliasson Jan Eliasson July 1, 2012 -
December 31, 2016
SwedenSweden Sweden
Amina J. Mohammed Amina J. Mohammed since Jan. 1, 2017 NigeriaNigeria Nigeria


  • Simon Chesterman (Ed.): Secretary or General ?: The UN Secretary-General in World Politics . Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-521-69958-7 ( ).
  • Josef-Thomas Göller: Advocates of Peace. The UN and its six General Secretaries . JHW Dietz successor, Bonn 1995, ISBN 3-8012-0218-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ " Equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the Secretary-General is a symbol of United Nations ideals "; according to The role of the Secretary-General . United Nations Secretary-General; accessed January 2, 2017.
  2. ^ António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation. In: United Nations News Center. October 13, 2016, accessed October 13, 2016 .
  4. See also information from the BPB: Secretary General
  5. Information on the salary levels in the UN including that of the Secretary General (Excel document)
  6. United Nations: António Guterres remains UN Secretary General for another five years. In: ZEIT ONLINE. June 18, 2021, accessed June 23, 2021 .
  7. ^ Louise Fréchette, Former Deputy-Secretary-General. United Nations , accessed April 2, 2017 .
  8. Mark Malloch Brown, Former Deputy-Secretary-General. United Nations , accessed April 2, 2017 .
  9. Asha-Rose Migiro, Former Deputy-Secretary-General. United Nations , accessed April 2, 2017 .
  10. Jan Eliasson, Former Deputy-Secretary-General. United Nations , accessed April 2, 2017 .
  11. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General. United Nations , accessed April 2, 2017 .