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United Nations Secretariat


United Nations Secretariat

United Nations Secretariat
Secrétariat des Nations unies
Formation 1945
Type Primary Organ
Legal status Active

Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ban Ki-moon
 Republic of Korea

The United Nations Secretariat ([1][2] The Secretariat is the United Nations' executive arm. The Secretariat has an important role in setting the agenda for the UN's deliberative and decision making bodies of the UN (the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Security Council), and the implementation of the decision of these bodies. Secretary General, who is appointed by the General Assembly, is the head of the secretariat.[2] The strength of secretariat staff, which is staffed by nationals of member states, has increased from 1,549 in 1949 to 43,747, in 2011.[3]


  • Mandate of the UN Secretariat 1
  • Staffing 2
  • Status of Women in the Secretariat 3
    • Representation of Women at Decision making levels 3.1
    • Special Measures for the Achievement Of Gender Equality 3.2
  • Secretary General 4
  • Organization 5
    • Offices 5.1
    • Departments 5.2
    • Offices Away from Headquarters 5.3
    • UN Regional Commissions 5.4
  • Reforms 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Mandate of the UN Secretariat

The mandate of the secretariat is a wide one.

  • UN Secretariat
  • Kofi Annan: strengthening the United Nations, in larger freedom, 21 March 2005.
  • United States Department of State – UN Division
  • The Four Nations Initiative

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ United Nations. (2011). Official web site
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ a b c d e f g
  22. ^ a b c d
  23. ^
  24. ^ V. Strengthening the United Nations In Larger Freedom, United Nations


See also

Since its creation, the Secretariat has undergone extensive reforms. On 21 March 2005, Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed several reforms for the Secretariat. He announced his intentions to appoint a Scientific Adviser, create a peacebuilding support office, establish a cabinet-style decision-making mechanism, and strengthen the mediation function. He also asked the General Assembly to appropriate funds for a one-time staff buyout; to work with him in revising budgetary and human resources rules; to grant the Secretary-General more managerial authority and flexibility; to strengthen the Office of Internal Oversight Services; and "to review all mandates older than five years to see whether the activities concerned are still genuinely needed or whether the resources assigned to them can be reallocated in response to new and emerging challenges".[24]


  • Bangkok, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
  • Beirut, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
  • Addis Ababa, Economic Commission for Africa
  • Geneva, Economic Commission for Europe
  • Santiago, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

UN Regional Commissions

Offices Away from Headquarters



Office: a minimum of 20 high level professionals under the supervision of a D-2 staff member (Division Head), or in few cases an Assistant Secretary General or Under Secretary General
Division: a minimum of 15 high level professionals under the supervision of a D-2 staff member (Division Head)
Service: a minimum of 8 high level professionals under the supervision of a D-1 (General Administrator) staff member
Section: a minimum of 4 professionals under the supervisions of a P-4 (8-12 years experience) or a P-5 (13-17 years experience) staff member
Unit: a minimum of 4 positions under the supervision of a chief

The Secretariat is divided into offices and departments. The hierarchy within each is as follows:


The Secretary-General's duties include helping resolve international disputes, administering peacekeeping operations, organizing international conferences, gathering information on the implementation of Security Council decisions, and consulting with member governments regarding various initiatives. Key Secretariat offices in this area include the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that, in his or her opinion, may threaten international peace and security.

Ban Ki-moon is the current UN Secretary-General

Secretary General

0n 4 September 2012, Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, in his Annual Reports to the General Assembly, titled "Improvement of the status of women in the United Nations system" stated that the aim of Special Measures was to ensure "gender balance in recruitment and promotion". [21]:p3, paragraph 67–68 and that Special measures would remain in effect until the “goal of gender parity is achieved", and sustained for a period of time.[22][21]:p 33, paragraph 67[21] The Secretary General in his Recommendations to the GA noted that the “ United Nations Secretariat, pursuant to the decision of the Policy Committee chaired by the Secretary-General” is to “ensure the effective implementation of special measures for gender equality. These measures include mandatory selection of equally or better qualified women candidates…” [21]: paragraph 147b

To ensure that the Gender Equality target mandated by the General Assembly are met, the Secretariat, in September 1999, promulgated Administrative Instruction(AI) on “Special Measures for the Achievement Of Gender Equality”( ST/AI/1999/9 )[22] [22]:section 5.2 Gender Equality A/I echoes the goals of, and is in conformity with, mandate of Articles 8 and 101 of the Charter of the United Nations, and Article 4 paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).[22]:preamble[23]

Special Measures for the Achievement Of Gender Equality

The representation of Women's in the UN secretariat, at the D1 level, in 2000, was 30.3 percent. Instead of increasing, in the next decade, the representation of women in the secretariat decreased to 26.7 percent[20]: p 29, Table 19In December 2011, the representation of women in the Secretariat at the D1 level was 27.4 percent, an increase of .6 percent over a two-year period.[21] :p 50, fn 64 At the current rate of progress, it is estimated that gender parity at the D-1 to higher levels will be achieved after 102 years. [21] :paragraph 133 At D2 level The representation of women in 2011 was 24.4 percent [21] :p 17

Representation of Women at Decision making levels

In December 1994, the UN General Assembly “disappointment” that its Gender Equality target were not met, urged the Secretary General to prioritize the recruitment and promotion of women to reach to 50/50 representation in D1 and above posts by 2000.[16][17] In Feb 2004, gender Parity target for the secretariat was once again revised to 2015.[18] [19] In 2009, despite the plans, and GA resolutions, the representation of women in the UN Secretariat remained well below parity at 29.2 percent.[20] :p 29, Table 19

Representation of women in the United Nations (UN), particularly at managerial and decision-making positions at the D-1 level and above, has been a United Nations General Assembly concern and goal since 1970. [12][13] Since 1984, the UN Secretariat, in order to achieve early Gender Equality, issued several five year “Action Plans" , including Strategic Plans, to improve the status of women in the Secretariat. [13][14] [15] These plans, however, did not have the desired impact, and progress in achieving gender parity remained slow.

Status of Women in the Secretariat

One study finds the following factors play a role in the selection of staff for the Secretariat: a desire to achieve a minimum number of officials from each state; population size; and assessment of dues. The most overrepresented states in the Secretariat are small, rich democracies. The Nordic states stand out, in particular, when it comes to overrepresentation.[11]

Headquartered in New York, the Secretariat functions through duty stations in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, Santiago and Vienna, in addition to offices all over the world.[7]

The Secretariat has 44,000 international civil servants. Eligibility for civil service is based on a UN-administered examination offered worldwide, in addition to a competitive application process.[7] Qualifications for membership include "the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity",[8] according to the UN Charter. Staff-members are appointed by the Secretary-General alone and are assigned to the organs of the United Nations. Staff members are appointed on a temporary or permanent basis, under the discretion of the Secretary-General.[9] During staff recruitment, geographical variety is an especially prominent selection factor in order to accurately reflect the scope of member states present in the UN.[10] The charter states that staff members are responsible "only to the organization" and are prohibited from any action or influence that would suggest affiliation with a government or organization outside the UN.[10]



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