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António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation
Mr. Guterres served as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015

NEW YORK (USA) - 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. (UN Photo 593547)


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. Adopting a consensus resolution put forward by its President, Peter Thomson, the Assembly acted on the recommendation on the UN Security Council, which on 6 October forwarded Mr. Guterres' name to the 193-member body as its nominee for UN Secretary-General for a five-year period, ending 31 December 2021.

Ten years to the day after his own appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban said: “Secretary-General-elect Guterres is well known to all of us in the hall. But he is perhaps best known where it counts most: on the frontlines of armed conflict and humanitarian suffering,” referring to his time as head of the UN refugee agency.

Noting that he has long valued his advice, and long admired his spirit of service, Mr. Ban declared: “He is a wonderful choice to steer this Organization as we build on the progress of the past decade, while addressing the insecurity and uncertainties of today's world.” The Assembly's resolution also welcomed the historic process Member States set in motion late last year: 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. (Italia News credited UN photos)

Antonio Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world's foremost humanitarian organizations with nearly 10,000 staff working in 125 countries. During his tenure, he oversaw a profound structural reform of UNHCR, reducing staff in its Geneva headquarters by over 20 per cent and increasing the organization's cost effectiveness and emergency response capacity. UNHCR's volume of activities tripled during his time in office, following the introduction of a needs-based budgeting approach and an increase in the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution, from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015. Guterres' tenure was marked by some of the largest displacement crises in decades, particularly conflicts in Syria and Iraq, but also the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic or Yemen.

Before joining UNHCR, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor. As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the "Lisbon Agenda" and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002. Guterres was elected to the Portuguese Parliament in 1976 where he served as a member for 17 years. During that time, he chaired the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Finance and Planning, and later the Parliamentary Committee for Territorial Administration, Municipalities and Environment. He was also leader of his party's parliamentary group. From 1981 to 1983, Guterres was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, during which time he was also elected as chairman ofthe Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees. For many years Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group's vice-president from 1992 to 1999, co-chairing the African Committee and later the Development Committee. He served as President of the Socialist International from 1999 until mid-2005. In addition, he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council as well as the Portuguese Consumers Association DECO, and served as president of the Centro de ACyao Social Universitario, an association carrying out social development projects in poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, in the early 1970s. Guterres is a member of the Club of Madrid, a leadership alliance of democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world. Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949 and graduated from the Instituto Superior Tecnico with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.


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