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UN chief calls for unity to deal with global challenges

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

Expressing concern over growing conflicts and scourge of terrorism, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres acknowledged he is not a "miracle-maker" as he called for unity among nations to deal with the challenges facing the world.

"I think we should have no illusions. We are facing very challenging times. On one hand, we see everywhere in the world conflicts that multiply, that are interlinked, that also have triggered this new phenomenon of global terrorism, conflicts in which international humanitarian is not respected, situations in which we see massive human rights violations, even refugee is no longer as respected as it was few years ago," 67-year-old Guterres said in his remarks to staff at the world body on his first day in office.

Guterres said his as the UN chief has generated a lot of expectations but he cautioned that there are no miracles.

"I am sure I am not a miracle-maker. And the only way for us to be able to achieve our goals is to really work together as a team, and to be able to deserve to serve the noble values enshrined in the Charter (of the United Nations)," he said.

He said nations are failing to recognise that there is a unifying factor in everything we do. "And that factor is people. People is undivided. And when we look at the different areas of action in the UN, we need to integrate them, because people integrate them on the receiving end," he said.

Guterres also stressed on the need to ensure that "we are able to reform the UN development system as Member States have asked us, and we need to try to get rid of this straight jacket of bureaucracy that makes our lives so difficult in many of the things we do.

"This requires a lot of effort from ourselves, but this also requires a lot of discussion and dialogue and mutual understanding with Member States and we need to overcome many of the divides that still exist within the organisation."

Guterres called for teamwork, saying it is not enough to the "do the right thing, we need to earn the right to do the right thing."

"It is important for us to recognise our achievements (...) but we also need to recognise our shortcomings, to recognise 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 - confronting the world.

Guterres' first day at UN Headquarters as Secretary General began with the laying of a wreath at the Memorial Wall.

Shortly after taking office two days ago, he made an appeal for peace. "Let us make 2017 a year in which we all - citizens, governments, leaders - strive to overcome our differences," Guterres said Sunday morning, urging people to share his New Year's resolution: "Let us resolve to put peace first."

He will serve for a five-year period until December 31, 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 December 2016.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 04 2017. 11:57 IST