By Tucker Jones
September 12, 2014
Though the election is still years away, politicians are already declaring their candidacy for one of the world’s most powerful jobs. In autumn 2016, both domestic and international politics will play a significant role in the eventual victory of one candidate. I am talking, of course, about the October 2016 elections for the Secretary General of the United Nations, and not about a certain national election scheduled to take place the month after.
The UN Secretary General’s role is, according to the UN Charter, to “be the chief administrative officer of the Organization” (Chapter XV, Article 97). Aside from administration, Article 99 states “[t]he Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” In practice, the Secretary General is the voice of the UN and the “international community,” and the problems that (s)he chooses to focus on receive significant attention worldwide. The position lacks in hard power (e.g. [s]he cannot move troops), but the more subtle soft powers of the Secretary General, such as the ability to set the agenda of the UN Security Council, contribute to the Secretary General being one of the most powerful diplomats in the world.