Antonio Guterres is New UN Secretary General

The Security Council has selected the Portugal’s former prime minister Antonio Guterres as next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations.

Mr Guterres served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees between 2005-15 leading the organisation as crises broke out in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Europe was hit by a flow of refugees from West Asia and North Africa.

Before joining the organisation, he served for two decades in various positions in Portugal.

Between 1995-2002, Mr Guterres served as the Prime Minister of Portugal when he played a key role in resolving the conflict in East Timor.

Mr Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide network of socialist political parties and served as vice president of Socialist International between 1992-’99.

By tradition, the job of secretary-general has rotated among regions. Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe have all held the post. East European nations, including Russia, argue that they have never had a secretary-general and it was their turn. There has also never been a woman secretary-general and more than 50 nations and many others campaigned to elect the first female UN chief.

Guterres, who served as the UN’s high commissioner for refugees until December, topped all six polls despite being a man from Western Europe.

List of Secretary-Generals

Name Country of origin
Trygve Lie Norway
Dag Hammarskjöld Sweden
U Thant Burma
Kurt Waldheim Austria
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Peru
Boutros Boutros-Ghali Egypt
Kofi Annan Ghana
Ban Ki-moon South Korea
Antonio Guterres Portugal