The UN General Assembly formally appointed Antonio Guterres as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, replacing Ban Ki-moon.
The 193 member states adopted a resolution appointing the former Prime Minister of Portugal for a five-year term beginning January 1.
Challenges before new Secretary General
Mr. Guterres will have to expediently attend to a number of pressing issues, including the worsening international refugee crisis and the scourge of terrorism, both in part linked to the debilitating Syrian war.
An equally challenging agenda point facing Mr. Guterres is to find creative ways to bridge the chasm between Western powers on the one hand and Russia and China on the other.
Credentials of Mr. Guterres
His experience as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will come in handy as he goes about negotiating to find shelter for and rehabilitate refugees from Syria, who at last count numbered well above four million worldwide.
About Secretary General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG or just SG) is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations.
Procedure for appointment
Article 97 of the United Nations Charter determines that the Secretary-General is "appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”
As the recommendation must come from the Security Council, any of the five permanent members of the Council can veto a nomination.
Despite the Charter giving the General Assembly provisions to influence the selection process, the chosen Secretaries-General reflect that the selection process remains in the control of the Permanent Members.
Some customs have developed regarding the selection process, such as that the appointee may not be a citizen of any of the Security Council's five permanent members.
About United Nations
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict.
At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The headquarters of the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York City. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.
Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.
The UN has six principal organs:
1. The General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly);
2. The Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security);
3. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development);
4. The Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN);
5. The International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the
6. United Nations Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994).
UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General who heads UN Secreatariat.