UN Secretary-General

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According to the Charter of the United Nations, the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. The Secretary-General is described by the Charter as the "chief administrative officer" of this organization; but his or her role includes not only administering the United Nation Secretariat, but also speaking out on global issues and using his or her good offices to mediate disputes.

UN Secretaries-General normally spend two terms in office; however sometimes they will serve only one if there is significant member state disapproval of their performance. Such is what happened to Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The position of UN Secretary-General is supposed to rotate by geographic region; but that rule is often broken. Since Boutros Boutros-Ghali served only one term, his successor (Kofi Annan) had to come from Africa as well. But when Kofi Annan had finished his first term, the position should have gone to an Asian. But the member states have been very impressed with Kofi Annan's performance, and so they appointed him to a second term anyway.

UN Secretaries-General