Guterres, the UN’s only top candidate, said he was “humble and energized” by the support of the nations of the world.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term by the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly.
The 72-year-old Portuguese, the only candidate for the top post in the world organization, said on Friday he was “humiliated and energized” by the support, adding that the “driving theme” of his second term will be “prevention under all its forms “. aspects – from conflicts, climate change, pandemics to poverty and inequalities ”.
“I will give my all to ensure the blossoming of trust between and among nations, large and small, to build bridges and to engage tirelessly in building confidence,” Guterres told the General Assembly after taking the oath.
Ambassadors in the hemicycle applauded as Assembly Speaker Volkan Bozkir announced Guterres’ re-election by “acclamation” without a vote.
Earlier this month, the 15-member Security Council recommended that the General Assembly renew Guterres. His second term officially begins on January 1, 2022.
Guterres took over from Ban Ki-moon in January 2017, just weeks before Donald Trump became President of the United States. Much of Guterres’ first term focused on appeasing Trump, which questioned the value of the UN and multilateralism.
Washington is the largest financial contributor to the UN, responsible for 22% of the regular budget and about a quarter of the peacekeeping budget. President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has started restoring funds cut by his predecessor to UN agencies and has re-engaged with the global body.
Among those who hailed Guterres’ re-election were US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Blinken called Guterres “results-oriented” and “a capable leader in a demanding role.”
The United States “looks forward to continuing our strong and constructive relationship … as we move forward on the urgent task of creating a more peaceful world and a more prosperous future,” said Blinken. “The United Nations is an indispensable anchor point of the multilateral system” where nations work together “to address unprecedented challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, human rights, development, migration and humanitarian crises ”.
For her part, Merkel praised Guterres’ commitment to peaceful solutions to conflicts, climate protection and “innovative solutions to global problems” during his first term and thanked him for helping to set up the COVAX facility to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the poorest countries.
“The coronavirus pandemic in particular has shown us that the ability of the United Nations to respond quickly to current challenges is essential,” she said.
Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and head of the United Nations refugee agency from 2005 to 2015. As Secretary General, he championed climate action, COVID-19 vaccines for all and digital cooperation.
When he took the reins as head of the UN, the global body was struggling to end wars and deal with humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. These conflicts remain unresolved and Guterres is now also facing emergencies in Myanmar and the Tigray region of Ethiopia.