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The United Nations’ Secretary-General and His Role Essay

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Updated: Aug 30th, 2021

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental agency that deploys influential leaders to facilitate the attainment of international cooperation, including the creation and preservation of global order. The Secretary-General’s position is regarded as the toughest job in the world. The UN describes the Secretary-General as the institution’s chief administrative officer. In this regard, the official selected to hold this position represents the principles of the UN while executing various roles stipulated in the laid-down scope of work. The political role of the Secretary-General considerably influences the UN’s image because this organization is supposed to protect the interests of vulnerable populations such as the poor or individuals from areas that are characterized by conflicts. This paper discusses and analyzes the functions of the Secretary-General as well as the political role ascribed to this esteemed position.

Functions of the Secretary-General of the UN

Chapter 15, specifically Articles 97 to 101 of the UN Charter, stipulates the United Nations Secretariat’s roles and responsibilities. The UN Secretary-General executes several functions that facilitate the realization of intercontinental collaboration and sustainable global order. The Secretary-General serves as a symbol of the UN’s principles, implying that the leadership position is significantly influential as far as the scope of the organization’s operations is concerned. In this respect, the official who is appointed to take this position is expected to unceasingly facilitate the collaboration of governments at the global scale while at the same time fostering the attainment of order. Therefore, the Secretary-General executes the administrative function of streamlining collaboration among member states within this organization.

The Secretary-General also functions as a global representative of the interests of all people, especially underprivileged members of the international community. The office of Secretary-General is expected to uphold values and moral authorities of the United Nations. As such, this official is responsible for promoting fairness and equality. For this reason, some of the former UN Secretaries-General, including Ban Ki-moon, identified the eradication of global poverty as an important agenda of this organization. Therefore, by serving as a representative of the interests of the people in the whole world, the Secretary-General communicates the need for alliances among member states as a way of solving issues that undermine their shared goals.

The UN Secretary-General’s office functions as a promoter of international peace and security by closely working with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In particular, the Charter of the UN requires the Secretary-General to inform the Security Council about any issue that is perceived to threaten the maintenance of global tranquility and security. As such, the UN chief administrative officer prompts the investigation of disputes or situations that considerably influence international peace and harmony. This function allows the Secretary-General to challenge any member states that are seen as undermining the realization of the UN’s core agenda of maintaining intercontinental serenity and security. As such, it is reasonable to regard the Secretary-General as a moderator of peace and security in the international community.

Overall, the UN Secretary-General executes an array of administrative functions that pursue the realization of this agency’s purpose. Day-to-day activities of the United Nations chief administrative office include attending the organization’s sessions and holding consultations with international leaders and other government officials. Additionally, the UN Secretary-General travels to various member states to gain a better understanding of a broad range of issues of international concern. Directorial international travels of the Secretary-General expose the political role of this office because the chief administrative officer is expected to discuss key government-related issues with national leaders or officials.

The Political Role of the Secretary-General of the UN

The Charter of the UN stipulates various political roles of the Secretary-General. Such functions guide the execution of the selected official’s duties and responsibilities. In particular, Article 99 of the UN Charter requires the Secretary-General to inform the Security Council about an issue that may be considered a risk to the maintenance of world peace and security. Since international relations discourses form a fundamental aspect of politics at the global scale, streamlining intergovernmental interactions in a way that mitigates the development of conflicts demonstrates the political role of the Secretary-General of the UN. This function of the Secretary-General is depicted in the form of activism directed toward the sustenance of peace and security in the international community.

The political duty of the Secretary-General is vital in fostering the functionality of the UNSC. Specifically, investigating disputes and situations that may disrupt global peace is one of the major functions of the UNSC. Therefore, member states are expected to offer their opinions to the Security Council about any political issues that may have negative effects on global peace and security. Consequently, the Secretary-General prompts the peacekeeping department to initiate investigations that are meant to guide the resolution process. In this respect, the perspective of the Secretary-General regarding world peace reveals the political role ascribed to this UN leadership position.

In the process of providing opinions regarding cases that may undermine the maintenance of intercontinental peace, the Secretary-General safeguards the interests of the world’s population. As a spokesperson of the needs of the global society, including vulnerable groups, this official may challenge or disagree with governments of member states in the event they engage in poor governance. Such questionable governance approaches may result in conflicts, for instance, tragic ethnic wars. Thus, it is important for the Secretary-General to address these issues by collaboratively working with the Security Council, which may recommend the appropriate option for responding to a dispute or conflict that poses a considerable impact on the world’s peace and security.

The peacekeeping operation selected by the UNSC may entail the establishment of armament policies after negotiating with all conflicting parties. For example, the UN Secretary-General may act as the chief negotiator in international relations operations, In this regard, the participation in negotiations between conflicting member states provides an opportunity for the chief administrative officer of the UN to carry out his or her political role. By so doing, this official upholds the values of the UN regarding the maintenance of global order.

Conclusion

The position of the UN Secretary-General is the highest within this agency. The respective official is regarded as a global leader who is expected to execute the functions of a chief administrative officer. The notable functions of the Secretary-General include representing the ideals of the UN and addressing the needs and interests of the global population. Many of the functions of the UN Secretary-General emphasize the need for attaining international cooperation and order. As provided in Article 99 of the UN Charter, the Secretary-General may play a political role by influencing the actions of the Security Council. In this respect, this official plays an essential role in influencing the achievement of shared interests in the international community.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The United Nations’ Secretary-General and His Role." August 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-nations-secretary-general-and-his-role/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The United Nations’ Secretary-General and His Role'. 30 August.

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