June 11, 2021

The United Nations Security Council formally approved Secretary-General António Guterres for a second term, assuring that the former Prime Minister of Portugal retains the top job for five more years starting January 1, 2022. The recommendation will now go to the 193-member General Assembly, which is expected to make the appointment on June 18.


  • The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.

  • The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council. The Secretary-General's selection is therefore subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

  • The office's qualifications are open to interpretation and have been established by custom and precedent in previous selections.

  • The length of the term is discretionary, but all secretaries-general since 1971 have been appointed to five-year terms.

  • While there are no term limits applicable to this post, no Secretary-General has so far served more than two terms. No secretary-general since 1981 has attempted to secure a third term.