The former Norwegian ambassador to Nato replaces Tom Koenigs of Germany.
He notably served as a special envoy to Kosovo and earlier as envoy to Bosnia-Hercegovina for Kofi Annan, the former UN chief.
The appointment is subject to council approval, but in practice takes effect if there are no objections.
Ashdown withdrawal
The European Union recently called for early agreement on a special UN envoy to co-ordinate operations in Afghanistan after Kabul rejected Britain's Paddy Ashdown for the position.
Ashdown, a former leader of Britain's second opposition party the Liberal Democrats, gained a no-nonsense reputation during his time as the international community's envoy to Bosnia from 2002 to 2005.
Last January, a Western diplomat said Ban had in mind "someone who in addition to representing the United Nations is able to be more effective in co-ordinating and leading the international community's efforts on the ground."
Ashdown withdrew his candidacy in late January after Afghanistan said it would block his appointment and expressed concern about how the move had been heralded in the media before it was formally confirmed.
Ashdown then said Kabul's objections to his candidacy, and recent criticisms of British and US military tactics by Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, were "almost certainly" to do with internal Afghan politics.
Violence in Afghanistan has risen over the past year, with Taliban fighters making increasingly bold attacks against international troops particularly in the south of the country.