The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, 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.
The current Secretary-General is Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who took office on 1 January 2007. His first term will expire on 31 December 2011. He was re-elected, unopposed, to a second term on 21 June 2011.
RoleThe Secretary-General was envisioned by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a "world moderator," but the office was defined in the UN Charter as the organization's "chief administrative officer" (Article 97). Nevertheless, this more restricted description has not prevented the office holders from speaking out and playing important roles on global issues, to various degrees.
The official residence of the Secretary-General is a five-story townhouse in the Sutton Place, Manhattan, in New York City, USA. The townhouse was built for Anne Morgan in 1921, and donated to the United Nations in 1972.
Term and selectionSecretaries-General serve for five-year terms that can be renewed indefinitely, although none so far has held office for more than two terms. The United Nations Charter provides for the Secretary-General to be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. As a result, the selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
United Nations System