Secretary or General?

sec-gen (199x300)

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is a unique figure in world politics. At once civil servant and the world’s diplomat, lackey of the UN Security Council and commander-in-chief of up to a hundred thousand peacekeepers, he or she depends on states for both the legitimacy and resources that enable the United Nations to function. The tension between these roles — of being secretary or general — has challenged every incumbent.

This book brings together the insights of senior UN staff, diplomats, and scholars to examine the normative and political factors that shape the role of the Secretary-General, with particular emphasis on how that role has evolved in response to changing circumstances after the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the “war on terror”. Such geopolitical transformations define the contours of the Secretary-General’s universe — a universe shaped also by the economic forces of globalization, and increasingly by tensions between the industrialized North and the developing South. Across these various influences, the difficulties experienced by each Secretary-General reflect the profound ambivalence of states towards entrusting their security, interests, or resources to an intergovernmental body. The ambiguities in the job description are far from accidental.


Table of Contents:

Foreword — Kofi A. Annan

Introduction — Simon Chesterman

Part I. Defining and Refining the Job Description

1. The Evolution of the Secretary-General — Brian E. Urquhart

2. “The Most Impossible Job” Description — Shashi Tharoor

3. Selecting the World’s Diplomat — Colin Keating

Part II. Maintaining Peace and Security

4. Relations with the Security Council — James Cockayne and David M. Malone

5. Good Offices and “Groups of Friends” — Teresa Whitfield

6. The Bully Pulpit — Quang Trinh

Part III. Normative and Political Dilemmas

7. The Secretary-General as Norm Entrepreneur — Ian Johnstone

8. Pope, Pharaoh, or Prophet? The Secretary-General After the Cold War — Adekeye Adebajo

9. Leader, Clerk, or Policy Entrepreneur? The Secretary-General in a Complex World — David Kennedy

Part IV. Independence and the Future

10. The Secretary-General’s Political Space — James Traub

11. The Secretary-General in a Unipolar World — Edward C. Luck

12. Resolving the Contradictions of the Office — Simon Chesterman and Thomas M. Franck

Appendix: Selected Documents on the Secretary-General

1. Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 1945

2. Report of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, 23 December 1945

3. General Assembly Resolution 11(I), 24 January 1946

4. The “Wisnumurti Guidelines” for Selecting a Candidate for Secretary-General, 12 November 1996

5. General Assembly Resolution 51/241, 22 August 1997

6. Canadian Non-Paper on the Process for the Selection of the Next Secretary-General, 15 February 2006

Select Bibliography


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