The UN General Assembly has appointed Mr António Guterres as Secretary-General of the United Nations, for a five year term starting on 1 January 2017.
 
Mr Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal, previously served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005-2015. 
 
The process to appoint Mr Guterres saw a focus on transparency and inclusivity.
 
Thirteen candidates (external link), including New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark, were invited to present their vision for the United Nations and hold hearings with the General Assembly and the Security Council.
 
Candidates also participated in a televised debate (external link).
 
The Security Council held a series of straw polls which determined Mr Guterres was the preferred candidate and his recommendation was sent to the General Assembly.
 
Prime Minister John Key has congratulated Mr Guterres and says New Zealand looks forward to working with him. 
 
“He is a friend of New Zealand,” says Mr Key.  “The role of UN Secretary-General is more important than ever and we have high expectations of him.”
Mr Key says he is obviously disappointed for Helen Clark.

“We did everything we could to support Helen. She would have been an outstanding Secretary-General but the clear preference was for António Guterres.
“Helen fought a good campaign and New Zealanders can be proud of her.”

Ban Ki-moon’s 10-year term as UN Secretary-General will end on 31 December 2016.