WYA Congratulates Incoming Secretary General António Guterres

The Security Council has given its unanimous recommendation to the candidate from Portugal.

October 6, 2016


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Mr. António Guterres at a candidate Q&A in June.

NEW YORK—Shortly after 10AM New York time, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation and current President of the Security Council Vitaly Churkin announced that the Security Council had unanimously decided to recommend António Guterres of Portugal for the position of Secretary General. Speaking today from Portugal, Mr. Guterres described his feelings about the endorsement as “gratitude and humility.”

The vote of the Security Council represents the most decisive step in what has been a months-long process. That process began at the end of last year, taking on urgency in the late spring and summer months as the start of the 71st Session of the General Assembly drew near. The President of the 70th session hosted events with each candidate and invited them to contribute vision statements which he then published online. Security Council’s endorsement , however, effectively seals the deal. The General Assembly will vote to approve the recommendation soon.

WYA has been following the selection process over the last several months, including attending public events with Mr. Guterres and other candidates. He came across as a competent and intelligent leader. He has both national experience as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and international experience as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a post he held for ten years ending in 2015.

Mr. Guterres headed the UN’s refugee agency during the rise of ISIS and a number of other incidents and ongoing conflicts which have displaced millions. He is said to have cut the agency down while increasing efficiency so that it continued to serve the same number of people. His commitment to the protection of the vulnerable appears to be long-standing; while serving as Prime Minister of Portugal, he opposed a referendum to that would have legalized abortion. He reiterated his commitment to serving the “most vulnerable” in his remarks upon receiving the recommendation of the Security Council.

Mr. Guterres highlighted in his vision statement the importance of not only addressing conflicts but preventing them, the importance of shared values such as “peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity,” and the importance of pursuing respect for “international law and the dignity and worth of the human person.”

WYA wishes Mr. Guterres success in pursuit of that vision and congratulates him on his selection.  We  support all efforts to promote human dignity and will continue to advocate for it at the United Nations.