UN Appoints New Secretary General Through Transparent System

Mr. António Manuel de Guterres The United Nations General Assembly today (October 13,2016) formally appointed Mr. António Manuel de G...



Mr. António Manuel de Guterres

The United Nations General Assembly today (October 13,2016) formally appointed Mr. António Manuel de Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed the current one, Mr. Ban Ki-moon when his term ends on December 31, this year.

Sixty-seven year old Guterres will start his new job as the ninth Secretary General from January 1, next year to December 31, 2021. He was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, former President of the European Commission and former President of the Socialists International.

The 193-member Assembly approved by acclamation the recommendation made by the 15-member Security Council on October 5, this year. This was by adopting a consensus resolution put forward by the GA president, Peter Thompson to confirm Guterres, as the next UN Secretary General. The adoption was greeted with applause from the Member-States. For the first time in UN history, the selection of the new Secretary-General was not traditionally decided behind closed-doors, but involved televised, public discussions with each of the 13 candidates (seven women and six men) campaigning for the world's top diplomatic position.

An elated Guterres, who is generally seen as an answer to the terrorism and refugee crisis worldwide, thanked the Assembly for the appointment and the trust reposed in him. He was particularly thankful to the Member States for the transparent and open selection process.

Guterres credited with the most profound structural reform in the UNHCR's history and its ability to respond to the largest displacement crisis since the Second World war said that the process for his appointment means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN.

He remarked that "And it also made very clear to me that, as Secretary-General, having been chosen by all Member States, I must be at the service of them all equally and with no agenda but the one enshrined in the UN Charter”.

The Secretary General designate stressed that alleviating the suffering of the vulnerable people, in particular the refugees and those in conflict zones, and gender equality would remain key priorities for him during his tenure.

"We must make sure that we are able to break these alliances between all the terrorist groups or violence extremists on one side and the expression of populism and xenophobia on the other side. We must be able to fight both of them with determination", he pointed out adding that the protection and empowerment of women in the organization will continue to be a priority commitment.

The Secretary-General-designate also reiterated his belief in the values of peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity, climate change, as well as his belief that diversity is a “tremendous asset” and not a threat.

Mr. Guterres praised the hard work of the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and promised to continue the work ahead with honour.

Congratulating him on his appointment, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said that the Secretary-general designate is best known where it counts most- on the frontlines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering and hoped he will build on the progress of the past decade in addressing the insecurity of today's world.

Mr. Ban also lauded the Member States for the selection process which for the first time in the UN history included public hearings with the General Assembly where each candidate presented his vision and answered questions from member states, stating that it opened the process to the world.

He further noted that the new steps taken this year had established a new benchmark of openness and engagement.

President of the GA expressed the confidence that Mr. Guterres will serve the global community with dedication, as a moral authority, and be the voice of our collective conscience and humanity, throughout his term.

Commenting on the selection process, Mr. Thompson, noted that “It was a process that specifically sought out candidates who embody a firm commitment to the purposes and principles of the [UN] Charter; who exemplify the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity; and who have proven leadership and managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations, strong diplomatic, communication and multilingual skills”.

On his part, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), also congratulated the Secretary-General-designate, describing him as a humanitarian advocate and a successful leader.

Guterres a devout Roman Catholic, is a former Secretary General of the League of Nations and the United Nations, a member of Council of State of Portugal is married with children. He studied physics and electrical engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. He speaks Portuguese,English, French and Spanish.

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