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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the genesis of the independent international civil service and the history of this concept in the form of the UN Secretariat. It shows how successive secretaries-general have interpreted their role and balanced member-state demands, thereby shaping the functions, structures, and internal workings of the Secretariat over time. It also highlights the interests of member states in many aspects of the Secretariat’s management and the politics of its never-ending ‘reform’ process, noting that successful reform requires the investment of real political capital by the Secretary-General. The chapter describes the selection of the Secretary-General as a window onto the uneasy balance between the Secretariat’s dependence on member states and its Charter obligations.

Keywords: international civil service, UN Secretariat, independence, Secretary-General, staff, management, scandals, reform, human resources, administrative justice

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