UN role and reform

21 January 2022, UN Headquarters

Secretary-General's opening remarks to press on his priorities for 2022

Good afternoon. 
Today I briefed the General Assembly on what I see as I scan today’s global landscape.
I did not pull any punches.  It’s not a pretty picture. 
I see a 5-alarm global fire.
You heard the speech.  I won’t repeat it. 
The essence of my message is simply this:  we don’t have the luxury to just catalogue our challenges. 
We must do something about them – and we can do something about them. 
So my message was stark – because that is the state of our world. 

21 January 2022, General Assembly

Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly on his Priorities for 2022

ecretary-General António Guterres briefs the UN General Assembly on his priorities for 2022. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

[All-English version; scroll down for All-French and bilingual as delivered versions]


We begin another year in the grips of a global pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to upend lives, plans and hopes.

The only certainty is more uncertainty.
Meanwhile, inequalities are growing.

Inflation is rising. 

The climate crisis, pollution and biodiversity loss rage on.

We face a cauldron of political unrest and ferocious conflicts. 

Mistrust among world powers is reaching fever pitch.

24 October 2021, New York

Remarks on the 50th anniversary of General Assembly resolution 2758

I am pleased to join you as we mark 50 years since the General Assembly adopted resolution 2758 deciding to “restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China in the United Nations.”

In the decades since, China has become an increasingly important contributor to the work of the Organization and a major pillar of international cooperation.

10 September 2021, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at press conference prior to opening of the 76th session of the General Assembly

[On the death of President Jorge Sampaio] … He was a former President of Portugal. He has worked for the United Nations, and if you allow me to say a few words in Portuguese, I would be very grateful.

14 September 2021, General Assembly

Remarks at the closing of the Seventy-Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

[Bilingual, as delivered]

I’m pleased to join you for the closing of the 75th session of the General Assembly — a session held under the shadow of a formidable foe: the COVID-19 pandemic.

By any measure, this has been the most challenging period facing the world since the Second World War.

The pandemic has deepened inequalities.

Decimated economies at the global, national and household levels.

Plunged millions into extreme poverty.

Shattered support systems.

And unraveled decades of hard-won development progress.

14 September 2021, General Assembly

Remarks at the opening of the Seventy-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

[Bilingual, as delivered]

It’s a pleasure to join you again for the opening of the 76th session of the General Assembly.

Let me start by warmly congratulating His Excellency Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives on his election. 

His longstanding diplomatic experience — including as Minister of Foreign Affairs — will serve him well in his new role.

And coming from the Maldives, he brings a fresh perspective on the unique experience of small island states.

21 September 2021, General Assembly

Secretary-General’s address to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the opening of the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-sixth session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

[All-English version; scroll further down for all-French and trilingual as delivered versions]

Mr. President of the General Assembly, Excellencies,

I am here to sound the alarm:  The world must wake up.

We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction.

Our world has never been more threatened.

Or more divided.

We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has supersized glaring inequalities. 

The climate crisis is pummeling the planet.

19 August 2021, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony for the Observance of the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad

Dear colleagues,

This memorial reminds us why August the 19th was chosen as World Humanitarian Day.

On this date 18 years ago, the world lost 22 humanitarian heroes in a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad.

These women and men were killed carrying out the noblest of all human missions — the mission of peace.

The mission of supporting innocent lives trapped by the violence, turmoil and instability of violent conflicts.

Humanitarian work is dangerous — with a tenfold increase in aid workers being shot, kidnapped or attacked over the last 20 years.

18 June 2021, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at press encounter on the Appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to a Second Term of Office

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Thank you very much for your presence. 

It is an enormous pleasure to be with all of you today.   

I am humbled but also energized by today’s decision of the General Assembly.   

I take on the responsibility of serving a second term as Secretary-General with profound gratitude and a deep commitment to work together to advance the UN Charter at a time of great peril and promise. 

We are at a crossroads, with consequential choices before us.  

It can go either way: breakdown or breakthrough.   

18 June 2021, General Assembly

Secretary-General's Oath of Office

António Guterres addresses the General Assembly after his appointment for a second five-year term as Secretary-General of the United Nations. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

[Trilingual, as delivered]

Mr President of the General Assembly, Senhor Presidente da República Portuguesa, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

This is a solemn moment. I find myself experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts.

I am deeply honoured and grateful for the trust you have placed in me to serve as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for a second term.

Serving the United Nations is an immense privilege and a most noble duty.