UN Secretary-General

The UN Secretary-General plays a crucial role in tackling global challenges and improving the lives of seven billion people. But the process for selecting the best person for the job is opaque and outdated. Essentially, it places the appointment in the hands of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. While States have the power to improve the appointment process and have even agreed on concrete proposals for change, it remains stuck in a time warp. 

1 for 7 Billion is a global campaign supported by organisations and individuals around the world committed to securing a more open and inclusive selection process, with genuine involvement by all UN Member States. Such a process would increase support for the UN’s mandate, enhance its effectiveness and credibility, and reaffirm its global authority. Endorse the campaign here: http://www.1for7billion.org/

The UN has now launched its offical website for the selection process of the new Secretary-General which will publish the details of the prospective candidates and some key information as to why they are applying for the role.

The 1 in 7 billion campaign website now includes a summary of the dialogues, as well as an analysis of how they went. They’ve also updated a candidates page to include live commentary from the hearings, video of every hearing and press stakeout, and links to the candidates’ social media tools.


The General Assembly appointed the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will hold the post for five years.

Take action:
  • Amnesty International created a human rights agenda for the next Secretary-General;
  • Global Citizen teamed up with Avaaz to gather questions to candidates from the public, and shared highlights from the dialogues with their supporters;
  • Avaaz has launched a campaign to illustrate public interest in the appointment of the next Secretary-General;
  • Through their Time for a Woman campaign, Equality Now urges the public to write to the Security Council in support of a woman Secretary-General;
  • The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect advocates for candidates to address atrocities prevention, and has highlighted key moments from the debate on Storify.