“UN Must Get Rid of Its Bureaucratic Straight Jacket”

On his first day at work, António Guterres, the new United Nations Secretary-General, addresses staff members. UN Photo / Rick Bajornas
On his first day at work, António Guterres, the new United Nations Secretary-General, addresses staff members. UN Photo / Rick Bajornas

On his first day in office on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for teamwork.

He told the staff at the world body’s New York Headquarters that it is not enough to “do the right thing, we need to earn the right to do the right thing.”

“It is very important for us to recognize our achievements but we also need to recognize our shortcomings, to recognize our failures and where we are not able to deliver as we should,” he said, outlining the multitude of challenges – ranging from complex conflicts to global terrorism – confronting the world.

Earlier, he had appealed to the world for one shared new year resolution – to “put peace first” in the year 2017. “Let us make 2017 a year for peace,” he said.

[ Can New Chief António Guterres Make UN a Relevant Outfit? ]

Mr. Guterres called on the entire Organization for a collective effort to address the shortcomings and underlined the need to reform the UN development system, as well as address bureaucratic constraints that hamper its performance, saying the world body must try and get rid of its “bureaucratic straight jacket.”

Mr. Guterres will serve for a five-year period until 31 December 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 succeeds Ban Ki-moon who served as the Secretary-General from 2007 until 31 December 2016.

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