The secretary-general says he would be “deeply humiliated” if the UN General Assembly approved a second term.
The United Nations Security Council has supported Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a second term, and has recommended to the 193-member General Assembly that he be appointed for five more years from 1 January 2022.
Estonian UN Ambassador Sven Jürgenson, chairman of the June council, said the General Assembly is likely to meet to make the appointment on June 18.
“He has already proved worthy of the post with the five years he has been in office,” Jürgenson said Tuesday.
“He has been an excellent general secretary. He is a bridge builder … He is able to talk to everyone, and I think that is expected of the general secretary ”.
In a statement, Guterres said: “I am very grateful to the board members for the trust they have placed in me.
“I would be deeply humiliated if the General Assembly entrusted me with the responsibilities of a second term.”
Guterres succeeded Ban Ki-moon in January 2017, after a hotly contested race in October 2016 that initially included 13 candidates: seven women and six men.
It was a few weeks before U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Much of Guterres ’first term focused on appeasing Trump, who questioned the value of the UN and multilateralism.
The United States is the largest financial contributor to the UN, accounting for 22 percent of the regular budget and about a quarter of the peacekeeping budget. U.S. President Joe Biden has already begun reinstating Trump’s funding cuts to some United Nations agencies and is once again committed to the global body.
A handful of people tried to challenge Guterres, but the 72-year-old former Portuguese prime minister formally had no opposition. A person will only be considered a candidate once nominated by a Member State. Portugal presented Guterres for a second term, but no one else had the support of a member state.
Guterres held a long open question and answer session with UN diplomats in the General Assembly last month and then met with members of the Security Council in private.
He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and then Head of the UN Refugee Agency from 2005 to 2015. As Secretary-General, Guterres has supported climate action, COVID-19 vaccines for everyone and digital cooperation.
When he took over as head of the UN, the world body struggled to end wars and deal with humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. These conflicts have not yet been resolved and Guterres also faces emergencies in the Tigray, Myanmar and Ethiopia region.
New York-based Human Rights Watch urged Guterres to take a more public stance during his second term, noting that his “recent will” to denounce abuses in Myanmar and Belarus should be expanded to include “powerful and protected” governments that deserve to be condemned.
“Guterres’ first term was defined by public silence on human rights abuses committed by China, Russia and the United States and their allies,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.