The former Portuguese prime minister will replace Ban Ki-moon on the first of January and become the ninth United Nations Secretary-General. He will place development at the center of the organization’s work and hopes to be the leader of the changes the UN needs.
Guterres, a former Socialist prime minister of Portugal and the head of the United Nations refugee agency for 10 years, focused his speech mainly on the importance of preventing conflict. He also said he would make the United Nations more “nimble” and “efficient” and promised a deep management reform for the following years.
Most UN diplomats affirm Guterres’ greatest challenge will certainly be dealing with the Trump administration. In his speech on Monday he indicated he would be “gentle”, at least for now.
The truth is that he is now under pressure to recruit women to his administration. Many diplomats had been campaigning for a woman to lead the international organization for the first time in 70 years, and Mr. Guterres has assured gender parity in his leadership.
Moreover, the General Assembly made an emotive tribute to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who leaves the office at the end of December after leading the United Nations for the past 10 years.