October 13, 2016 General Assembly appointed the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General. Guterres, 67, will replace Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea. Ban will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms.
In 2005, António Guterres was elected by the UN General Assembly to become the 10th High Commissioner for Refugees, serving for a decade until the end of 2015. Before joining UNHCR, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He was Portuguese prime minister from 1995 to 2002, and briefly presided over the European Council in early 2000. He also founded the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991.
In the early years of his reign, Guterres was extremely popular. Portugal has experienced solid economic growth, reduced the budget deficit, and increased social spending.
One of the big decisions of Guterres as Prime Minister became the decriminalization of drugs. As a result, the level of drug abuse in the country has become 5 times lower than the EU average, while the number of new HIV infections per year fell by 95%.
During his tenure Guterres has earned an impeccable reputation among Portuguese politicians. Even his political opponents in the center-right Social Democratic Party of Portugal respected him.
From 2005 to 2015 he held the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Guterres has shown to be an effective manager, reducing costs and rates of officials at the headquarters in Geneva, but the agency's ability to timely respond to international crises, directing its employees in the "hot spots", as experts note, has improved.
Guterres constantly urged the governments of the most developed and wealthy countries to provide more funds and resources to help the victims of conflict and natural disasters.
Guterres, in recent years was in the midst of the Syrian crisis workers. Together with actress Angelina Jolie, he called for help for refugees, while sharply criticizing the EU a lack of tolerance and generosity.
Devout Catholic, Guterres remarried after his first wife died in 1998 from cancer, had two children and a stepson from the second wife. Besides Portuguese, Guterres speaks Spanish, English and French, is interested in medieval history, opera and cinema.
In his application for the post of Secretary General Guterres wrote about the problems faced by the world in terms of rising inequality, terrorism and organized crime, climate change and the spread of armed persons at the international level.
He wrote that the United Nations is "in a unique position to connect the dots, to overcome these problems," but it requires changes and reforms.
While some countries are building fences from migrants, the election of the head of the UN refugee advocates does not look accidental. One can predict that this theme will not only remain in the focus of the organization, but will be risen much more often.