Opinion: Antonio Guterres – A male of difference and not (yet) deeds

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Confident, accurate and expressive – Antonio Guterres done an glorious sense during his United Nations focus talk in New York this April. Beyond his mom tongue of Portuguese, a new United Nations secretary-general presented his ideas in 3 serve languages – English, Spanish and French.

Guterres is a male of words, and it is a fun to listen to him. His thought of creation impediment a UN’s top priority for all destiny activity is a convincing one. Who would not determine with a judgment of avoiding problems rather than carrying to conflict to them?

The need for a timeless UN

As UN high commissioner for refugees, Guterres was forced to understanding with a problems that arise when such preventions are not in place. Around a world, some-more people were journey during his tenure in bureau than during any time given a finish of World War II. The 67-year-old always managed to find a right difference to report a interloper predicament and did not bashful from criticizing a European Union.

Beck heads DW’s African Portuguese section

Yet, in light of a crises that already exist in a universe – possibly in Syria, South Sudan or Somalia – difference alone will not be enough. It is too late for impediment in all of these instances. Action is indispensable now. And that requires an orderly UN. Scenes like those in July, in that UN peacekeepers were incompetent to strengthen civilians in South Sudan from ruthless militias, can't be repeated.

Guterres has pronounced that he wants UN peacekeepers to work in line with a top reliable standards in a future. That is desperately necessary, for all too mostly those infantry have done a name for themselves by enchanting in a passionate abuse of minors. The United Nations’ greeting to such scandals has especially consisted of ducking a problems and afterwards attempting to cover them up.

Lack of constructive criticism

That has to do with a miss of a enlightenment of constructive critique within a UN. Mistakes during a United Nations are suppressed: The organization’s general conferences are consistently touted as possibly really successful, or during a really least, successful – even when disaster is transparent for all to see. Guterres’ prototype Ban Ki-moon was no exception, and even went so distant as to support a ancestral disaster that was a 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in a certain light.

In fact, all of Guterres’ predecessors unsuccessful to remodel a intensely formidable and emasculate apparatus of a unwieldy United Nations. Yet radical remodel is a usually wish that a UN, with a dozens of during times ineffectual sub-organizations, will ever have if is to effectively understanding with a ever incomparable hurdles that it faces.

Really a right man?

There is good reason to doubt that Guterres is a right male for a task. For starters, after 10 years as United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Guterres is partial of a system. A clever personality from outward a system, one but a common inhibitions of UN diplomats, would have been a improved choice in terms of pulling such urgently indispensable reforms.

Moreover, one contingency remember a euphoria that arose when Guterres initial became primary apportion of Portugal behind in 1995. “No jobs for a boys,” he announced during a time. He swore that he wanted to finish a tradition of doling out thousands of open administration posts to associated celebration members. Competence, he said, should be a magnitude of gift rather than celebration loyalty. Nevertheless, it shortly became transparent that no deeds would follow adult those words. By a finish of his premiership in 2002, he had handed out thousands of jobs in a supervision apparatus to “boys” from his possess revolutionary PS party.

For a consequence of a United Nations, one can usually wish that as secretary-general he will follow adult his difference with action.

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