On his first day at UN Headquarters since becoming the head of the world body on 1 January 2017, Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to UN personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and addressed colleagues. “We must assert the value of multilateralism,” he said in his remarks to staff. Later in the day, he met with a range of senior officials to discuss items on his agenda.
On his first day in office, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has called for teamwork. Guterres urged staff at the world body’s New York Headquarters that it was not enough to do the “do the right thing; we need to earn the right to do the right thing”. “It is very important for us to recognise our achievements but we also need to recognise our shortcomings, to recognise our failures and where we are not able to deliver as we should,” he charged.
He outlined the multitude of challenges – ranging from complex conflicts to global terrorism – confronting the world. Guterres called on the entire UN for a collective effort to address the shortcomings and underlined the need to reform the UN development system. UN Secretary-General António Guterres He also stressed the need to address bureaucratic constraints that hamper its performance, saying the world body must try and get rid of its “bureaucratic straight jacket”. “There are no miracles and the only way for us to achieve our goals is to work as a team,” he said. The UN chief also recalled the selection process that culminated with the UN General Assembly appointing him as the ninth chief of the global body in October 2016.
“I know that the way this selection process has been developed and has raised a lot of expectations,” he noted. On his first day at UN Headquarters since becoming the head of the world body on Jan. 1, the secretary-general paid tribute to UN personnel who had lost their lives in the line of duty and addressed colleagues. “This requires a lot of efforts from ourselves but also a lot of dialogue with UN Member States and to overcome the divides that still exist in the organisation,” he added. Guterres’ first day at UN Headquarters as Secretary-General began with the laying of a wreath at the Memorial Wall in the Visitors’ Lobby.
The ninth UN scribe will serve for a five-year period until Dec. 31, 2021. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon who served as the eighth secretary-general from 2007 until Dec. 31, 2016. On his first day at work, Guterres also addressed staff members who gathered to welcome him.