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Antonio Guterres sworn-in as ninth Secretary General of United Nations

Dec 12, 2016 15:00 IST

Antonio Guterres, who was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, was sworn-in as the UN Secretary General on 12 December 2016. He will succeed Ban Ki-moon as the ninth chief of the organisation.

President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson administered his Oath of Office at a special plenary meeting of the 193-member General Assembly at the United Nations. After the sworn-in ceremony, Guterres, 67, also addressed the General Assembly.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, the new UN Secretary-General vowed to reform the 71-year-old world body, making it decentralised and flexible to improve its ability to respond to global crises. He said the organisation is the cornerstone of multilateralism and has contributed to decades of relative peace, but the challenges are now surpassing our ability to respond.

Portugal’s Antonio Guterres appointed UN Secretary-General

Guterres was unanimously appointed by the General Assembly as the successor to Ban, after the 15-nation Security Council had in October 2016 decided by acclamation to send his name to the Assembly for final approval.

Guterres will assume his new role for a five-year tenure beginning 1 January 2017. He will serve the organisation till ending 31 December 2021.

Antonio Guterres

• He served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He was the 10th High Commissioner for Refugees.

• He was elected to the Portuguese Parliament in 1976, where he served for 17 years.

• During his seven-year tenure as the Prime Minister of Portugal, he was involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.

• Born on 30 April 1949, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service.

• He briefly presided over the European Council in early 2000.

• He also founded the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991.

• He graduated from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a degree in engineering in 1971.

Besides, Guterres is the first Secretary-General from Western Europe since Kurt Waldheim who served the organisation from 1972 to 1981.

About United Nations Secretary-General

The United Nations (UN) Secretary is the head of the UN Secretariat, which is one of the principle organs of the United Nations. He acts as de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations.

The role of the UN Secretary-General and Secretariat is laid out by Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of the United Nations Charter. The post lasts for five years and is limited to a maximum of two terms.

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