António Guterres

António Guterres of Portugal, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1 January 2017. Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.

With demand for freshwater projected to grow by more than 40 per cent by the middle of the century, and with climate change having a growing impact, water scarcity is an enormous concern. By 2050 at least one in four people will live in a country where the lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent. Without effective management of our water resources, we risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and even increased tensions among nations.

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the Security Council ministerial-level open debate on conflict prevention and sustaining peace. 10 January 2017, United Nations, New York.

Preventing human suffering and ensuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are primarily the responsibility of Member States. But the United Nations has a vital supporting role. We need to become much better at it, building trust with Member States and all stakeholders. I see us doing this in four ways: a surge in preventive diplomacy; bold efforts to implement the Agenda 2030 and Sustaining Peace; strengthened partnerships; and comprehensive reforms to overcome fragmentation and consolidate our capacities to deliver.