Guterres in London, November 2016.
|Secretary-General of the United Nations|
1 January 2017
|10th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees|
15 June 2005 – 31 December 2015
|Preceded by||Ruud Lubbers|
|Succeeded by||Filippo Grandi|
|114th Prime Minister of Portugal|
28 October 1995 – 6 April 2002
|Preceded by||Aníbal Cavaco Silva|
|Succeeded by||José Manuel Barroso|
|President of Socialist International|
November 1999 – June 2005
|Preceded by||Pierre Mauroy|
|Succeeded by||George Papandreou|
|Secretary-General of the Socialist Party|
23 February 1992 – 21 January 2002
|President||António de Almeida Santos|
|Preceded by||Jorge Sampaio|
|Succeeded by||Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues|
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres|
30 April 1949
Luísa Guimarães e Melo|
(m. 1972–1998; died)
Catarina Vaz Pinto
|Alma mater||Instituto Superior Técnico|
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, GCL GCC (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔnju ɡuˈtɛʁɨʃ]; born 30 April 1949) is a Portuguese politician and diplomat who is the Secretary-General-designate of the United Nations. Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, as leader of the Socialist Party. He also served as President of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, and in October 2016 the United Nations General Assembly elected him by acclamation to become the next United Nations secretary-general, succeeding the retiring Ban Ki-moon.
António Guterres was born and raised in Portugal's capital, Lisbon, son of Virgílio Dias Guterres (1913–2009) and his wife Ilda Cândida de Oliveira (born 1923). He was educated at the prestigious Camões Lyceum (now Camões Secondary School) where he graduated in 1965, winning the National Lyceums Award (Prémio Nacional dos Liceus) as the best student in the country. He then studied physics and electrical engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. He graduated in 1971 and started an academic career as assistant professor teaching Systems Theory and Telecommunications Signals, before leaving academic life to start a political career.
His political career started in 1974, when he joined the Socialist Party. Shortly thereafter, he quit academic life and became a full-time politician. In the period following the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, which put an end to Caetano's dictatorship, Guterres became involved in Socialist Party leadership and held the following offices:
- Head of Office of the Secretary of State of Industry (1974 and 1975)
- Deputy for Castelo Branco in the Portuguese National Parliament (1976–1995)
- Leader of the parliamentary bench of the Socialist Party, succeeding Jorge Sampaio (1988)
Guterres was also a member of the team which negotiated the terms of Portugal’s entry into the European Union in the late 1970s. He was a founding member of the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991.
In 1992, after the Socialists' third consecutive defeat in Parliamentary elections, Guterres became Secretary-General of the Socialist Party and leader of the opposition during Aníbal Cavaco Silva's government. At the time, he was the party's third leader in six years. He was also selected as one of the 25 vice-presidents of the Socialist International in September 1992. His election represented a break with tradition for the Socialists: not only was Guterres not associated with either the faction around then-President and former Prime Minister Mário Soares or the party's left wing lead by Guterres' predecessor Sampaio, but he was also a devout Catholic, running counter to the party's historical secularism. He sought to consult with Portugal's civil society in formulating policy, meeting a range of intellectuals, scientists and entrepreneurs from across the country and the political spectrum in the run-up to the next general election.
Prime Minister of Portugal
Cavaco Silva did not seek a fourth term as Prime Minister of Portugal (in order to run for the 1996 Presidential election) and the Socialist Party won the 1995 parliamentary election. President Soares appointed Guterres to become Prime Minister and his cabinet took the oath of office on 28 October that year. Guterres ran on a platform of keeping a tight hold on budget spending and inflation in a bid to ensure that Portugal met the Euro convergence criteria by the end of the decade, as well as increasing rates of participation in the labour market, especially among women, improving tax collection and cracking down on tax evasion, increased involvement of the mutual and non-profit sectors in providing welfare services, a means-tested guaranteed minimum income (known as the Rendimento Minimo Garantido), and increased investment in education. He was then one of seven Social Democratic prime ministers in the European Union, joining political allies in Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands.
First term (1995–99)
With a style markedly different from that of his predecessor, based on dialogue and discussion with all sections of society, Guterres was a popular prime minister in the first years of his government. Portugal was enjoying a solid economic expansion which allowed the Socialists to reduce budget deficits while increasing welfare spending and creating new conditional cash transfer programs. He presided over Expo 98 in Lisbon, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Vasco da Gama. His government also accelerated the programme of privatisations which had been undertaken by Cavaco Silva's government: a total of 29 companies were privatised between 1996 and 1999, with proceeds from privatisations in 1996-7 being greater than those of the previous six years, and the public sector's share of GDP being halved from 11 percent in 1994 to 5.5 percent five years later. Share ownership was also widened, with 800,000 people investing in Portugal Telecom upon its privatisation in 1996 and 750,000 applying for shares in Electricidade de Portugal.
Also in 1998, two nationwide referenda were held. The first one was held in June, and asked the voters whether abortion rules should be liberalized. Although most of the Socialist Party supported liberalization, Guterres himself voted against. A second referendum was held in November, this time over the regionalization of the mainland. In this referendum, both Guterres and his party supported the approval of such an administrative reform. However, in either case, both proposals were rejected by the voters.
Contrary to his party stance and following the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by the World Health Organization in 1990, Guterres said, in 1995, that “he did not like homosexuality” and that he considered it “something that bothered him”.
On foreign policy, Guterres campaigned for United Nations intervention in East Timor in 1999, after the former Portuguese colony was virtually destroyed by Indonesian-backed militias when it voted for independence. He also finalized the 12-year long negotiations on the transfer of sovereignty over Macau, which had been a Portuguese colony, to Chinese control in 1999.
Second term (1999–2002)
In the 1999 parliamentary election the Socialist Party and the Opposition conquered exactly the same number of MPs (115). Guterres was re-appointed for the office and from January to July 2000, he occupied the six-month rotating presidency of the European Council. This second term in government was not as successful however. Internal party conflicts along with a slowdown in economic growth and the Hintze Ribeiro Bridge disaster damaged his authority and popularity. Nevertheless, some long-lasting measures were taken during his second cabinet: in October 2000 the Parliament approved the decriminalization of drug use (effective from 1 July 2001) and in March 2001, same-sex civil unions were legalized.
In December 2001, following a disastrous result for the Socialist Party in the local elections, Guterres resigned, stating that "I am resigning to prevent the country from falling into a political swamp". President Jorge Sampaio dissolved Parliament and called for elections. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, until then Minister for Social Security, assumed the Socialist Party leadership, but the general election was lost to the Social Democratic Party of José Manuel Durão Barroso, who would later become President of the European Commission.
Guterres worked as President of the Socialist International until 2005, when he was elected UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2005, following Guterres’ proposal, George Papandreou was elected Vice President of the Socialist International; in 2006, Papandreou succeeded him as President of the Socialist International.
High Commissioner for Refugees
As High Commissioner, Guterres headed one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations, which at the end of his term had more than 10,000 staff working in 126 countries providing protection and assistance to over 60 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons. His time in office was marked by a fundamental organizational reform, cutting staff and administrative costs in the UNHCR's Geneva head office and expanding UNHCR's emergency response capacity during the worst displacement crisis since the Second World War.
In a February 2007 NPR interview devoted mainly to the plight of Iraqi refugees, he said that this was one of the greatest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Among poorly publicized refugee crises, he cited those in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During his final years as High Commissioner, he worked chiefly to secure international aid for the refugees of the Syrian civil war, calling the refugee crisis an "existential" one for host countries (such as Lebanon and Jordan), and describing additional aid as a "matter of survival" for the refugees. He was an outspoken advocate for a more coordinated and humane approach by European countries to the Mediterranean refugee crisis. In June 2013, he launched a US$5 billion aid effort, its biggest ever, to help up to 10.25 million Syrians that year.
In what was widely considered as a very effective PR move, Guterres appointed American actress Angelina Jolie as his Special Envoy to represent UNHCR and himself at the diplomatic level in 2012. Together they visited the Kilis Oncupinar Accommodation Facility in Turkey (2012); the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan (2013); and the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta (2015). They also appeared jointly before the United Nations Security Council (2015).
In early 2015, the General Assemby voted to extend Guterres’ mandate by 6½ months to 31 December, on recommendation of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In light of the European migrant crisis, the UNHCR's 98-member executive committee (EXCOM) later requested that Ban recommend extending Guterres' term by a further year; however, Ban disregarded the request. Guterres left office on 31 December 2015, having served the second-longest term as High Commissioner in the organization's history, after Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan.
United Nations Secretary-General
On 5 October, the 15-member United Nations Security Council announced that they had agreed to nominate Guterres, after an informal secret ballot in which he gained 13 encourage votes and two no opinion votes. The UNSC officially nominated Guterres by adopting a formal resolution on 6 October and on 13 October he was formally elected by the United Nations General Assembly on the seventy-first session. Guterres is expected to take office on 1 January 2017.
The UN's role in the Haiti cholera outbreak has been widely discussed and criticized after the Ban Ki-moon administration denied the issue for several months. According to the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti as well as numerous conclusive scientific studies, the UN is the proximate cause for bringing cholera to Haiti. Peacekeepers sent to Haiti from Nepal in 2010 were carrying asymptomatic cholera and failed to treat their waste properly before dumping it into one of Haiti's main water streams. During his UNSG informal dialogue, Jamaica, on behalf of the Caribbean Community, asked if the UN should assume liability for any deaths within local populations that result from the introduction of infectious disease by its peacekeepers. Jamaica also asked if Guterres believes compensation should be provided. Guterres responded by calling the situation a "particularly complex question." He says that it is difficult to preserve diplomatic immunity while also ensuring there is no impunity, but that he would "pay a lot of attention in trying to find the right equilibrium between these two aspects that are absolutely crucial." In a UN General Assembly meeting in late October 2016, the representative from Haiti called the UN's current and future response to the cholera epidemic will be a "litmus test of the system's commitment to the promotion of human rights."
In 2016 Anders Kompass exposed the sexual assault of children by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and, as a consequence, was dismissed by Ban Ki-moon's administration before being rehabilitated in court. During the United Nations Secretary General Candidate informal dialogues, Guterres indicated it was completely unacceptable that there be UN forces committing human rights violations such as rape and sexual violence. "All of us together—states and UN—must do our utmost to ensure that any kind of action of this type is severely punished," remarked Guterres. The United States raised the question of international tribunals to try peacekeepers for their crimes. Guterres responded by saying an independent jurisdiction would be excellent but that "the only way to get there is through a new compact with all key parties true contributors, financial contributors, and to make sure that there is an adjustment in the relation between countries the UN and the support those that are contributing with troops receive in order to be able to do it much better." He also indicated that there is a gap between theoretical zero tolerance and the ineffective zero tolerance that actually exists on the ground that needs to be overcome.
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Advisor to the Board (2003–2005)
- Champalimaud Foundation, Member of the Vision Award Jury
- Club of Madrid, Member (since 2002)
- European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Member
- European Regional Innovation Awards, Chairman of the Jury (2004)
- Friends of Europe, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Non-Executive Member of the Board of Trustees (2013–2018)
- Member of the Council of State of Portugal, appointed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (2015; he resigned after being elected UNSG)
In 1972, Guterres married child psychiatrist Luísa Amélia Guimarães e Melo (1946–1998), with whom he had two children, Pedro Guimarães e Melo Guterres (b. 1977) and Mariana Guimarães e Melo de Oliveira Guterres (b. 1985). His wife died of cancer at the Royal Free Hospital in 1998.
In 2001, he married his second wife Catarina Marques de Almeida Vaz Pinto (b. 1960), a former Portuguese State Secretary for Culture and more recently Culture Secretary for the City Council of Lisbon.
Guterres is a practising Catholic. During his university years, he joined the Group of Light, a club for young Catholics, where he met Father Vítor Melícias, a prominent Franciscan priest and church administrator who remains a close friend and confidant.
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty (2 February 2016).
- Spain: Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (14 June 2002).
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (9 June 2002).
- France: Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit (4 February 2002).
- Brazil: Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross (2002).
- Japan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2002).
- Tunisia: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Republic (2002).
- Ukraine: Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, First Class (2002).
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (3 December 2001).
- Chile: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (30 September 2001).
- Cape Verde: First Degree of the Order of Amílcar Cabral (27 April 2001)
- Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (9 October 2000).
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (8 September 2000).
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of Honour (17 March 2000).
- Mexico: Sash of Special Category of the Order of the Aztec Eagle (2 July 1999).
- Uruguay: Grand Officer ot the Order of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (10 December 1998).
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (22 September 1997).
- Brazil: Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross (23 July 1996).
- 2010 – Honorary Doctorate, University of Beira Interior
- 2014 – Honorary Doctorate, Meiji University
- 2016 – Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Carleton University
- 2016 – Honorary Doctorate, University of Coimbra
- 2005 – Personality of the Year by the Associação de Imprensa Estrangeira em Portugal (AIEP)
- 2007 – Freedom Award (shared with Angelina Jolie)
- 2009 – Calouste Gulbenkian International Prize (shared with the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East)
- 2015 – W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award
- 2015 – The National German Sustainability Award
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- Vision Award Jury Champalimaud Foundation.
- António Guterres Club of Madrid.
- Board of Trustees Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
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