Secretariat of the United Nations

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Secretariat of the United Nations


the administrative and executive organ of the United Nations that functions throughout the year. It consists of the secretary-general of the UN and the staff necessary for the execution of the organ’s duties. The Secretariat is a principal organ of the UN, along with the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, and International Court of Justice (UN Charter, art. 7). It has relatively less autonomy than the other principal organs and works under the supervision of the General Assembly and, in some cases, the Security Council.

The Secretariat mainly performs administrative and technical functions for the various UN agencies, committees, and conferences. These functions include writing up the correspondence and documents of the United Nations, keeping archives, registering and publishing international treaties and agreements, and disseminating information on UN activities through the press, radio, and television. The Secretariat is also responsible for drawing up and implementing the budget of the UN, collecting contributions from member states, and coordinating the public and economic activities of the UN and its specialized agencies.

The executive functions of the Secretariat are directly related to the official duties of the secretary-general, principally the implementation of the decisions of the principal organs of the UN. According to the UN Charter, the executive functions of the Secretariat must be exercised under the strict control of these organs and must not challenge their authority.

The Secretariat has the following subdivisions: the Department of Political and Security Council Affairs, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Department of Trusteeship and Information From Non-Self-Governing Territories, the Offices of the Secretary-General, offices of two Under-Secretaries for Special Political Affairs, the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, the Department of Administration and Management, the Office of the Controller, the Office of Personnel, the Office for Interagency Affairs, the Department of Human Rights, the Office of Public Information, the Office of Conference Services, and the Office of General Services. The Secretariat also maintains four regional economic commissions, information centers in 60 different countries, including the USSR, and a division of the United Nations in Geneva.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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