United Nations Gets New Secretary-General


Former Portugal Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres was on Monday sworn in as  the ninth General-Secretary of the United Nations (UN) by the UN General Assembly.

Guterres, 67, who will be replacing  Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea on Jan. 1, promises to carry out reforms aimed at improving the world body.

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He also promised to “exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience” his duties when he resumes office in January  2017.

Guterres beat out 12 other candidates, seven of whom were women, amid a push for the first woman to be elected, said on Monday he aims to have gender parity among senior U.N. leadership within his five year term.

According to reports, Guterres is expected to name Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Amina Mohammed as his deputy.

Antonio Guterres taking the oath of office

Before her appointment as the Nigeria’s Minister of Environment a year ago, Mohammed was U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning – a role that culminated last year with the adoption by the General Assembly of sustainable development goals for the next 15 years.

He is also said to be planning to appoint a woman as his chief of staff before the end of the year.

Diplomats are now watching to see who Guterres appoints to senior U.N. positions amid speculation by diplomats and U.N. officials that China would like one of its nationals to head peacekeeping and that Russia is keen to have a senior role.

Antonio Guterres is the first former head of government to be elected to run the world body and that experience will be reflected in how he operates.

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Ban Ki-Moon will steps down at the end of 2016 after two five-year terms. Guterres was Portugal’s prime minister from 1995 to 2002 and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.