UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said his successor Antonio Guterres is a “wonderful choice” to lead the world body during the current times of insecurity and uncertainty, and commended his work from the “front-lines” of armed conflict and contribution for women’s empowerment.
“Secretary-General-designate 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,” Secretary-General Ban said as he congratulated Guterres on his appointment as the next Secretary General of the UN.
The 193-member UN General Assembly today unanimously appointed Guterres as Ban’s successor for a five year term beginning January 1, 2017.
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The UN envoys and diplomats present in the UNGA hall applauded as General Assembly President Peter Thomson announced that Guterres has been appointed “by acclamation” the 9th Secretary General of the UN.
Guterres was then escorted, amid applause, to the iconic green podium of the General Assembly, where he sat as heads of regional groups took the podium to congratulate him and express their support for his work as UN chief.
Ban said Guterres brings “deep and solid” political experience including his two terms as Prime Minister of Portugal.
“His political instincts are those of the United Nations – cooperation for the common good, and shared responsibility for people and the planet. He recognises the crucial importance of women’s empowerment from peace tables to the halls of this house,” he said.
Ban said an active participant in the Senior Management Group and Chief Executives Board, Guterres understands the inner workings of our Organisation.
“I have long valued his advice, and long admired his spirit of service. He is a wonderful choice to steer this Organisation as we build on the progress of the past decade while addressing the insecurity and uncertainties of today’s world,” he said.
Ban also commended the UN Member States not only for their choice, but for the way in which they went about it, saying this was the first time that public hearings were held on the selection of a Secretary-General, opening the process to the world.
He said several highly-qualified women and men were given a unique platform to share their vision and answer questions from the diplomatic community and civil society.
“These new steps established a new benchmark of openness and engagement,” Ban added.