Tag Archives: United Nations Secretary-General

Let us make 2017 a year for peace: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

UN Chief Antonio GuterresOn my first day as Secretary General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart:

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massive wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute.

And even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars. Everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations.

And whole regions are destabilized, and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Years’ Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution: let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives to dialogue and respect across political divides, from ceasefires on the battlefield to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions, peace must be our goal and our guide.

And all that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace. But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace!

 

António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation

António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General The General Assembly today appointed by acclamation the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on 31 December.

Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will become the world’s top diplomat on 1 January 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.

Thanking the General Assembly for appointing him as the next Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres said he was grateful to the Member States for their trust in him as well as for the transparent and open selection process they undertook.

“I believe this process means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN. 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,” said Mr. Guterres.

He also underlined 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.

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

Security Council recommends former Prime Minister of Portugal Guterres as next UN Secretary-General

António Guterres -  next UN Secretary-General6 October 2016 – The Security Council today formally chose the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as its nominee to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations for a five-year term when incumbent Ban Ki-moon steps down on 31 December.

The recommendation, made in a resolution adopted in a private meeting by acclamation, now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for formal approval.

On an official visit to Italy, Mr. Ban said in Rome this morning that Mr. Guterres is “an excellent choice,” noting that the two had worked closely during Mr. Guterres “long and outstanding tenure” as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“He showed deep compassion for the millions of people who were forced to leave their homes,” Mr. Ban said, adding: “His past experience as Prime Minister of Portugal, his extensive knowledge of world affairs and his keen intelligence will serve him to lead the United Nations at a crucial period.”

Under procedures for appointing the world body’s new chief, after the recommendation is transmitted from the Council to the Assembly, a draft resolution is issued for the Assembly to take action. After appropriate consultations with Member States, the Assembly President fixes a date for the draft to be taken up.

The last five Secretaries-General were appointed by the Assembly through a resolution adopted by consensus. A vote will take place only if a Member State requests it and a simple majority of those voting would be required for the Assembly to adopt the resolution. But the Assembly could decide that the decision requires a two-thirds majority. If a vote is taken, it will be by secret ballot.

The UN Charter, signed in 1945 as the foundation of the Organization, says relatively little about how a Secretary-General is to be selected, aside from Article 97, which notes that the candidate “shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

At its first session in 1946, the General Assembly was much more active in the selection process. It created resolution A/RES/1/11 determining that the Council take the lead in the selection process, agree on a single name in a private meeting, and pass that name down to the General Assembly for a vote.

Yesterday, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Security Council presidency for the month, informed the President of the Assembly, Peter Thomson, that after the sixth informal “straw poll” for the position of Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres had emerged as the clear favourite.

In addition to Mr. Guterres, 12 other candidates were in the running to succeed the current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year.

Today’s decision by the Security Council brings the UN closer towards the culmination of an historic process: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world’s top diplomatic post.

These so-called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

In addition, this past July, the UN held its first-ever globally televised and webcast townhall-style debate in the General Assembly Hall, where the confirmed candidates at the time took questions from diplomats and the public at large.