Statement by Mr. António Guterres on his appointment by the General Assembly to the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations
Mr. President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary-General,
Ladies and gentlemen,
When I heard the Security Council's decision to recommend me to the General Assembly, my feelings could be described by just two words: gratitude and humility.
It is with the same gratitude and humility that I stand before you today, now joined by a profound sense of responsibility.
I am grateful, first of all, to the General Assembly and the Security Council for entrusting me with the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations.
I am also grateful for the transparency and openness of the selection process and to the many competent, thoughtful and dedicated candidates who came forward. I believe this process means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN. And it also made very clear to me that, as Secretary-General, having been chosen by all Member States, I must be at the service of them all equally and with no agenda but the one enshrined in the UN Charter.
I am fully aware of the challenges the UN faces and the limitations surrounding the Secretary-General. The dramatic problems of today's complex world can only inspire a humble approach - one in which the Secretary-General alone neither has all the answers, nor seeks to impose his views; one in which the Secretary-General makes his good offices available, working as a convener, a mediator, a bridge-builder and an honest broker to help find solutions that benefit everyone involved.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the last 10 years, I have witnessed, first hand, the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth. I have visited war zones and refugee camps where one might legitimately ask: what has happened to the "dignity and worth of the human person"?
What has made us immune to the plight of those most socially and economically underprivileged? All this makes me feel the acute responsibility to make human dignity the core of my work - and I trust, the core of our common work.
This also underscores the importance of gender equality. I have long been aware of the hurdles women face in society, in the family and in the workplace just because of their gender. I have witnessed the violence they are subject to during conflict, or while fleeing it, just because they are women. I have tried to address this through every public office I have ever held. The protection and the empowerment of women and girls will continue to be a priority commitment for me.
I have faith in the United Nations because I believe in the universal values its stands for: peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity. Based on these values, I believe that diversity in all its forms is a tremendous asset, and not a threat; that in societies that are more and more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious, diversity can bring us together, not drive us apart.