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What are the main responsibilities of the secretary-general?
• Administrative. The secretary-general oversees the UN Secretariat, which handles UN operations, including research, translation, and media relations. The Secretariat—the UN’s executive office—has a staff of close to nine thousand people from about 170 different countries. During Annan’s administration, the deputy secretary-general position was created to handle day-to-day operations, given the secretary-general’s increasing responsibilities.
• Human Resources. The hiring of under-secretaries for approximately fifty UN posts, including the heads of funds such as UNICEF and UNDP, falls under the purview of the secretary-general. An important element of the hiring involves lobbying from members to fill posts with their nationals, highlighting the secretary-general’s role of negotiating with the Security Council and General Assembly to ensure broad regional representation• Peacekeeping. The secretary-general’s office shoulders responsibility for overseeing peacekeeping missions and appoints the under-secretary in charge of that department, involving more than eighty thousand military personnel and some fifteen thousand civilians serving in eighteen operations as of October 2006. Although the General Assembly or Security Council may initiate a peacekeeping mission, operational control rests with the Secretariat.
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