2016 United Nations Secretary-General selection

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António Guterres meeting with Iranian Interior Minister 01

2016 United Nations Secretary-General selection was a pivotal event in the history of the United Nations (UN), marking the process through which the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations was chosen. The selection was notable for its emphasis on transparency and inclusivity, setting a precedent for future selections. The process culminated in the appointment of António Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as Secretary-General.

Background[edit | edit source]

The role of the Secretary-General is critical in the global arena, acting as the top diplomat and administrative head of the United Nations. The position is charged with promoting peace, sustainable development, and human rights while managing the operations of the UN's various organs and agencies. The selection process for the Secretary-General is governed by the UN Charter, which stipulates that the appointment is made by the UN General Assembly upon the recommendation of the UN Security Council.

Selection Process[edit | edit source]

The 2016 selection process was marked by an unprecedented level of openness and engagement. For the first time, the candidates participated in public hearings, presenting their visions and answering questions from both member states and civil society. This approach was aimed at increasing the transparency of the process and the accountability of the candidates.

Candidates were required to submit their nominations through their respective national governments. The list of official candidates included notable figures from various regions, reflecting the UN's commitment to geographical diversity. The UN Security Council played a crucial role in the selection process, conducting several straw polls to gauge the support for each candidate among its members.

António Guterres's Selection[edit | edit source]

After a series of straw polls, António Guterres emerged as the clear favorite. His extensive experience in international politics and his tenure as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were seen as significant assets that would enable him to address the complex challenges facing the UN. On 13 October 2016, the UN Security Council unanimously recommended Guterres to the General Assembly, which subsequently appointed him as Secretary-General for a five-year term starting on 1 January 2017.

Significance[edit | edit source]

The selection of António Guterres was significant for several reasons. It was the culmination of the most transparent and inclusive selection process in the history of the UN. Guterres's appointment was also notable for the broad support he received from both the Security Council and the General Assembly, reflecting a consensus among the member states on his candidacy.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The 2016 United Nations Secretary-General selection marked a milestone in the efforts to make the UN more transparent, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of the global community. António Guterres's selection underscored the importance of experience, vision, and consensus in addressing the challenges facing the world.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD