Un Reform from the Grassroots
Low Level Pane


Should the next SG be a “superior administrative officer”?

The US permanent representative to the UN said this week that the US will be looking for a “superior administrative officer” as the next SG. The UN’s Charter mentions the role of the SG only briefly – explicitly referring to the SG’s internal role as the chief administrative officer, and making no mention on the post’s external role. However, over the years that external role – making peace, focusing policy-makers’ and the public’s attention on certain issues, convening talks on a particular conflict or maintaining the world’s focus on a broad issue – has become the majority of the workload that passes through the Executive Office. Administrative and management skills, while important, are not as important as the personality, experience and skills to fulfill the SG’s almost impossible external role. Instead, the Member States should ensure that a superior administrative officer is appointed to the soon-to-be vacant Deputy Secretary-General role, and that the power of that office is strengthened to give that person real control over the day-to-day workings of the Secretariat.