Posted by Ali Albassam on October 05, 2016 in Blog

Antonio.pngOn October 5, 2016 the United Nations Security Council displayed a rare show of solidarity when António Guterres received 13 votes to serve as the United Nations’ next Secretary General. There were two abstentions.

The election of the United Nations Secretary-General is a two-step process. A candidate must first be nominated by the Security Council, then presented to the 193-member General Assembly for approval.

The former prime minister of Portugal was a clear favorite to the UN Security Council largely due to his leadership during his ten-year tenure (June 2005-December 2015) as the United Nations High Refugee Commissioner, where he implemented large-scale reforms to UNHCR that tripled its annual activities while reducing administrative and structural costs.

Guterres' tenure featured by some of the largest displacement crises in history, leading response efforts in Syria and Iraq, but also the crises in Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen. Over the last decade, he’s vehemently implored western states to do more to help the record number refugees fleeing the conflicts.

With the global displaced population exceeding sixty-five million, Mr. Guterres seems poised to lead the UN in responding to the largest refugee crisis in recorded history.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers hailed the decision of the Security Council, describing it as "remarkably" uncontroversial. "In the end, there was just a candidate whose experience, vision, and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling.”

When approved, Guterres will replace Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon whose second term will end on December 31, 2016.

For Mr. Guterres’ sake, and for the rest of the world, let’s hope the solidarity behind this appointment translates into a concerted international effort that foster innovative solutions and make a lasting impact.