The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon is going to be stepping down soon after ten years of service. It is almost certain that the next Secretary General is going to be Antonio Guterres. He is a former prime minister of Portugal. Also, he has served as the high commissioner for refugees.
The man who is going to be at the helm of the United Nations has already outlined what his term is going to look like. Already, he has said that he wants to be “an honest broker”, mediating between national differences with integrity.
Antonio Guterres and His Goals
If Guterres accomplishes what he is now setting out to do, the United Nations is going to have a Secretary General that acts as an impartial power-broker that works in favor of the values of the UN.
Antonio Guterres also said that he wants to be “a bridge-builder”. He does have an entire term to bridge the gaps in communication and mutual understanding of UN nations that are barely on speaking terms. Like Israel and Palestine, and many other examples, the new Secretary General has his work cut out for him.
Also, the former prime minister said that he intends to be “someone who tries to create conditions for consensus”. That is indicative of how Guterres sees his role. It’s apparent that he views the role of Secretary General as one of facilitator, rather than actor.
Antonio Guterres is a veteran politician. Also, he has a lot of experience as a diplomat. This Wednesday he won the full support of United Nations Security Council. As he was campaigning, he spoke about his goals as Secretary General if he were to get the job. He wanted to work together with all countries to solve the many problems on the global agenda. Without mentioning any one issue in particular, Guterres talked about the problems at hand that require immediate attention.
The UN Security Council Votes on Thursday
On Thursday morning, the United Nations Security Council is going to meet to express a formal vote regarding Guterres’ candidacy. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin is the current president of the Security Council. Churkin said that he hopes the council is going to recommend Gutteres to the General Assembly. The Assembly has to approve the successor to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The current Secretary General is going to end his term on December 31. So the General Assembly must appoint a successor by the end of the year.
The United Nations held a question and answer session for each candidate in the UN General Assembly. It was the first time the UN used this procedure and the candidates received marks for their answers. Antonio Guterres received high marks from most diplomats present. Also, out of ten candidates, he did not receive a single “discourage” vote at a poll on Wednesday.
Guterres spoke about his experience, saying that ten years as U.N. high commissioner for refugees were “excellent preparation”. Also, his background would help give him credibility as an independent seeking to promote consensus and working to overcome crises. “I think we are living in a world where we see a multiplication of new conflicts, and you see an enormous difficulty in solving the conflicts,” Guterres said. “There is a clear lack of capacity in the international community to prevent and to solve conflicts.”
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