2021 United Nations Secretary-General selection

← 2016 SC: 8 June 2021
GA: 18 June 2021
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Nominee António Guterres
Country  Portugal
Result Acclaimed

Secretary General before election

António Guterres

Elected Secretary General

António Guterres

A United Nations Secretary-General selection was held in June 2021 to choose the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Incumbent António Guterres was the only official candidate for the position. On June 8, 2021, Guterres was unanimously recommended by the United Nations Security Council (SC) for a second term at the helm of the organisation. His re-election was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly (GA) by acclamation on June 18, 2021, without a vote. Guterres commenced his second term on 1 January 2022.[1]


See also: United Nations Secretary-General selection

Article 97 of the United Nations Charter, states "The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council". As a result, the selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.[2] The Charter's minimal language has since been supplemented by other procedural rules and accepted practices.[3]

Although different regions have held the office, no secretary from Eastern Europe has ever been selected Secretary-General. No woman has ever been selected either.[3] In 2016 there were various international campaigns to select an eastern European or a woman.[4][5][6] Despite this, the selection was won by the only candidate who was neither female nor from Eastern Europe. In 2021, some groups attempted to revive the campaign to elect a woman at the helm of the United Nations,[7] but no female candidate was nominated by a member state to be considered by the Security Council.


In order to be eligible for selection, a candidate must be nominated by at least one member state.[8][9] On June 8, the day the security council convened to recommend a candidate to the general assembly, there was only one official candidate in the selection process (incumbent Antonio Guterres), and seven additional self-declared applicant candidates.[10]

Official Candidates

The incumbent Secretary General António Guterres confirmed he would be seeking a second five-year term.[11]

Official candidates
Image Name Prior experience Nominator Nominated Regional group
António Guterres Prime Minister of Portugal (1995–2002)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2005–2015)
Secretary-General of the United Nations (2017–)
 Portugal 26 February 2021[12] Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Other notable declared candidates


By May 2021, Incumbent Antonio Guterres had already secured the support of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and of the Non-Aligned Movement, leading some observers to believe that his re-election was almost a certainty.[14][15]


Rosalía Arteaga
Private citizens
António Guterres


On June 8, 2021, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution recommending António Guterres for a second term at the helm of the United Nations. His re-election was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly by acclamation on June 18, 2021, without a vote.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Antonio Guterres Reelected as United Nations Secretary General". www.msn.com. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  2. ^ Chesterman, Simon (2007). "Introduction". In Chesterman, Simon (ed.). Secretary or General? The UN Secretary-General in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b "UN Secretary-General". UNElections.org. Archived from the original on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  4. ^ Ravelo, Jenny Lei (5 January 2016). "The next UN secretary-general: 7 women to consider". Devex.
  5. ^ "Time for a Woman: United Nations—it's been over 70 years, elect a female Secretary-General". Equality Now. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  6. ^ Jordan, Chuck (26 August 2016). "The next UN Secretary General should be from Eastern Europe". The Hill. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Von Hammerstein, Leonie (8 May 2021). "Could Rosalia Arteaga become the first woman to lead the UN?". Deutsche Welle.
  8. ^ "Meet the Canadian millennial running to lead the United Nations". CBC. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Selection and Appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations". www.un.org. General Assembly of the United Nations. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Selection of next UN secretary-general enters phase of vision statement hearing". www.xinhuanet.com. 5 May 2021. Archived from the original on 5 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Guterres to seek second five-year term as UN Secretary-General". UN News. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  12. ^ a b Lopes, Francisco Duarte; et al. (26 February 2021). "Joint letter from the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council, forwarding a communication received from the Permanent Mission of Portugal presenting Mr. António Guterres as a candidate for re-appointment to the position of Secretary-General" (PDF). United Nations. Permanent Mission of Portugal. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 February 2021.
  13. ^ Gladstone, Rick (26 February 2021). "Who Is Arora Akanksha, the 34-Year-Old Running for U.N. Secretary General?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Why the UN chief race might wrap sooner than expected". Devex. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e Picard, Maurin (7 May 2021). "Antonio Guterres défend sa réélection à la tête de l'ONU". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  16. ^ 谭欣雨 (21 January 2021). "FM spokesperson supports Guterres for second UN term". China Daily. Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Germany 'delighted' by UN chief Antonio Guterres' 2nd term". Deutsche Welle. 29 January 2021. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  18. ^ "India conveys support for re-election of Antonio Guterres as UN Secretary General". The Times of India. 26 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Pakistan backs Antonio Guterres for second term as UN Secretary-General". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Guterres to run for second term as UN chief: official". MSN. AFP. 11 January 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  21. ^ Fillion, Stephanie (29 April 2021). "Rosalía Arteaga, a Short-Lived President of Ecuador, Wants to Run Against the UN's Guterres". PassBlue. Retrieved 22 May 2021.