UN: Guterres officially confirmed as secretary-general

  • ECO News
  • 13 October 2016

Guterres was, after having been appointed last week after six votes, confirmed as the new secretary-general of the UN. This is the last part of a process that began on April 12th.

Today, António Guterres was officially approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). The former UN High Commissioner for Refugees was appointed for the position by the UN Security Council on October 6th. Guterres will succeed of Ban Ki-moon on the first of January 2017.

“António Guterres is now approved by acclamation for the position of secretary-general of the UN, beginning on the first of January 2017 until 31st December 2021”, stated the president of the UN General Assembly. Peter Thompson named today as “an historical moment” because of the transparency in the process of election witnessed by the representatives of 193 member states. Thomsom emphasized the “vast experience” Guterres has.

The ceremony began with a tribute to the today deceased King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej at 88 years old. In the ceremony held in New York is the minister for Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva.

António Guterres promises a “humble approach” as secretary-general. In his speech, the former Portuguese prime-minister expresses his “deep sense of responsibility” concerning the position he will take on in 2017. He also focused on “human dignity”; remembering his visits to warzones, he classified wars as “increasingly more complex” and “unbearable”. He also advocated for the gender inequality issues, as well as the importance of difference “as an asset, not a threat”, adding “multiethnic and multicultural societies bring people closer, not further apart”.

This afternoon, after the ceremony, the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared that Guterres’ election “was the fight of his life”. The President praised the “perseverance” of the new UN secretary general.

On October 19 there will be a new meeting with the Assembly preparing for the work to be carried out next year.