The former prime minister of portugal took the oath of office today as he pledged to "exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience" his duties as United Nations leader when he takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1.
Addressing the UN General Assembly after the swearing in ceremony, the new UN Secretary-General has 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.
Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, would replace Ban Ki-moon from January 1, 2017.Ban will step down on December 31, 2016 after leading the global organisation for the past 10 years.
The President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomas, administered the oath to Guterres in the presence of the 15 members of the Security Council and other members of the General Assembly.
Among the appointments expected soon, Nigeria s Environment Minister Amina Mohammed is tipped to become United Nations deputy secretary-general, diplomats say. "Today we must be here for peace", he said.
The 67-year-old former prime minister (1995-2002) and United Nations refugee chief (2005-2015) beat out more than a dozen other candidates during a 10-month long public process to lead the organization.
"We will build on the outcome of the recent discussions among Member States", he said, underlining the need to bring humanitarian and development spheres closer together from the very beginning of a crisis."Humanitarian response, sustainable development and sustaining peace are three sides of the same triangle", he highlighted.Management reformOn management reforms, Mr. Guterres underlined the need to build on existing efforts and to implement recent reform initiatives. We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity", he said, adding:"The threats to these values are most often based on fear.
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Guterres also emphasized the need to do more to prevent and respond to the sexual violence and exploitation committed by those serving under the United Nations flag against those they are supposed to protect.
During a post-ceremony news conference, Guterres was asked what he would do about the situation in Syria.
Recalling his childhood, he said: "After the Korean War, UN aid fed us".
NAN reports that the General Assembly earlier paid glowing tributes to outgoing Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, for his exceptional contributions to the United Nations and the global community. "For me, the power of the United Nations was never abstract or academic".
"For the past 10 years, I have been honored to serve alongside the many courageous, dedicated and talented women and men of the United Nations", he said.
He went on to serve two terms as Portugal's Prime Minister.