The UN debate

A CONVERSATION WITH CANDIDATES HOPING TO BE THE NEXT SECRETARY GENERAL

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The UN debate

candidates

THE

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT SECRETARY GENERAL?

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BACKGROUND

What is the UN?

Founded in 1945 after the Second World War ended, the UN is guided by the principles in its Charter - primarily maintaining international peace and security. The organisation has six official languages including Chinese and Russian, and is funded by its 193 member states. As well as striving to maintain peace, the UN promotes sustainable development, protects human rights, upholds international law and delivers humanitarian aid.

The job description

Equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the UN secretary-general is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesperson for the people of the world, in particular the poor and vulnerable. The current secretary-general, and the eighth occupant of the post, is Ban Ki-moon of the Korea, who took office on 1 January 2007. A woman is yet to hold the top UN role, but that could change. This year, there are at least six female candidates vying for the job.

The secretary-general would fail if he, or she, did not take careful account of the concerns of the 193 member states. The job includes attendance at sessions of UN bodies; consultations with world leaders, government officials, and others; and worldwide travel intended to keep in touch with the people of the organisation's 193 member states.

Each year, the secretary-general issues a report on the work of the UN that appraises its activities and outlines future priorities.

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