New UN Secretary General is Portuguese Antonio Guterres, who in January 1st replaced Mr. Ban Ki-moon. In his first day at the post Mr. Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year for peace.
“On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution: Let us resolve to put peace first,” said Guterres in an appeal for peace. He argued this is the way society can help the millions of people caught up in conflict, who suffer massively in wars that seem not to have an end in sight.
More so, he emphasized the role conflicts have had in destabilizing whole regions and creating cycles of mistrust and fear, not to say the trillions of dollars spent in their course.
“Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences,” he continued.
“From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides. From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solution. Peace must be our goal and our guide.”
“I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day,” he added.
Mr. Guterres had been formally appointed by the UN General Assembly on 13 October 2016. He is aged 67 and will serve for a five-year period from today to 31 December 2021, with the possibility of doing a second term.
He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2006 to December 2015. Even if he was a favorite for the post the whole time, his appointment halted the campaign to have a female Secretary General for the first time in UN history.