Portugal’s Antonio Guterres will lead the United Nations for another five years. As expected, the United Nations General Assembly called the 72-year-old for a second term on Friday. A decision was passed unanimously. Guterres ran unopposed and with the support of the powerful Security Council.
In a speech after his appointment, he called for international cohesion: “It can go both ways: collapse and eternal crisis or breakthrough and the prospect of a greener, safer and better future for all. There are reasons for hope.” The world is “on the cusp of a new era”.
In addition to several regional conflicts – including in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Myanmar – one of the biggest future challenges for Guterres is combating the climate crisis. The Secretary-General of the United Nations recently painted a picture of a world on the brink and urged major carbon dioxide producers to do more. In addition, the ability of the United Nations to operate threatens to be further weakened by the heightened tensions between the United States and China.
The economic and social disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic must also play a role for some time to come. In his speech on Friday, Guterres complained that progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals has been lagging recently — among other things in fighting poverty, ending hunger and gender equality.
The new mandate of the Secretary-General of the United Nations begins on January 1, 2022 and runs until the end of 2026. Guterres is the ninth Secretary-General and has led the world organization since 2017. His new formation has always been considered secure: Guterres has had a good influence in recent years in dealing with Influential veto powers the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain and France. Many Heads of State and Government, such as Federal President Alexander van der Bellen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, congratulated the Secretary-General.
Guterres is a skilled politician, but a cautious – say critics is too timid – a mediator in international conflicts in which he has rarely had greater success. According to experts, this is also due to the fact that Guterres has been “fighting for survival” in the face of US President Donald Trump’s attacks on the United Nations for the past five years.
The UN Secretary-General has also been repeatedly accused of not criticizing China enough for human rights abuses such as the Uyghur minority. However, Guterres managed to draw attention to himself by focusing on more global topics, such as combating the climate crisis and his work on the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many indications that the UN Secretary-General will not be more investigative in the future either: on Friday he reiterated that complex global problems can only be addressed through a “modest approach” – “which the Secretary-General does alone you do not have all the answers.” “. (apa/dpa)
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