Who is the next likely UN secretary general?

67-year-old Antonio Guterres, who is experienced in working to secure aid for Syrian refugees, will face his toughest challenge yet as he prepares to take on his new role.

Photo by: United Nations
Photo by: United Nations

Guterres worked as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees between June 2005 and December 2015.

Updated Oct 8, 2016

Antonio Guterres is now officially the nominee for the chair of Secretary-General of the United Nations after the UN Security Council recommended him to the General Assembly on Thursday.

Guterres, the former  Portuguese prime minister, will succeed the current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year after serving two terms.

Guterres thanked the Security Council for nominating him to be the next Secretary-General.

“I have two words to describe what I'm feeling now: gratitude and humility," he said in a short statement in Lisbon, which he repeated in various languages.

"Humility (is what I feel) about the huge challenges ahead of us, the terrible complexity of the modern world. But it is also humility that is required to serve the most vulnerable, victims of conflicts, of terrorism, rights violations, poverty and injustices of this world."

Educated in engineering at the Instituto Superior Technico in Portugal, Guterres left a career path in academia to join Portugal’s Socialist Party in 1974.

He was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and served as president of the European Council.

He went on to work as the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees between June 2005 and December 2015, following his party’s defeat in elections.

Most recently, Guterres has been working to secure aid for the refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war.

He will now face his toughest challenge yet as he prepares to take on his new post in the UN, the intergovernmental organisation to promote international cooperation.

During a speech to the General Assembly in April, Guterres said he would be a candidate because "the best place to address the root cause of human suffering is at the centre of the UN system."

He said a UN chief should act "with humility, without arrogance, without giving lessons to anybody, but working as a convener, as a facilitator, as a catalyst and behaving like an honest broker, a bridge builder and a messenger for peace."

Seven of the candidates for secretary-general were women amid a push by civil society groups and a third of the 193 UN member states for the first female UN chief in the 71-year history of the world body, which has had eight male leaders.

In April, Guterres pledged to present a roadmap for gender parity at all levels of the United Nations if elected.

The authorised vote will take place on morning the morning of Oct. 13 at 14:00 GMT in which the the 193-member General Assembly must approve his appointment.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies