By Lisa Correnti and Stefano Gennarini, J.D.| December 15, 2016
NEW YORK, December 16 (C-Fam) The United Nations swore in its ninth Secretary General on Monday, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, raising cautious optimism from pro-life and pro-family groups after 10 years of activism under Guterres’ predecessor Ban Ki-moon.
“The United Nations was born from war. Today we must be here for peace,” Guterres told UN diplomats after taking an oath to uphold the UN Charter and not to be influenced by any government. He takes office January 1st.
Guterres, who lead the UN refugee agency for a decade, is expected to prioritize conflict prevention, UN reform, and gender parity.
It remains to be seen if he will resist pressure from Western governments and the UN bureaucracy to advance an aggressive sexual rights agenda and concentrate instead on the growing hostility and economic insecurity in the world today.
Minutes before Guterres took the stage in the General Assembly Hall, members paid tribute to Ban Ki-moon.
Ban will likely be remembered for overseeing the overhaul of UN development system through the 2030 development agenda, which shifted the focus of UN development activities from helping the poorest of the poor to a universal agenda focusing on sustainability.
Ban will also be remembered for facilitating the formation of a controversial UN Women’s agency, UN Women. The office does not have any programmatic focus but instead acts as a global women’s lobby, attempting to influence internal political affairs in countries around the world.
Ban will be known as the UN Secretary General who attempted to streamline homosexual rights in the UN system, even when it meant creating acrimony.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Powers praised Ban Ki-moon as a “zealot defender” of LGBT rights and signaled that the expectation was for his successor to “build” on the current foundation.
Ban displayed a similar zeal promoting the novel idea that abortion as a right under the laws of war.
Ban’s aggressive promotion of LGBT rights was inaugurated with the 2012 initiative of the UN bureaucracy, the “Free and Equal Campaign” financed by Nordic countries.
The campaign, which was never approved by member states, promotes a right to engage in sodomy, same-sex marriage, homosexual adoption, and other LGBT rights. The campaign released a collection of LGBT stamps which drew the condemnation of 87 African, Arab and Eastern European states, and the painting of a rainbow crosswalk in front of UN headquarters during the opening of the General Assembly this year.
Under Ban’s guidance, the UN’s once-innovative and groundbreaking focus on maternal health around the world through the Millennium Development Goals was diluted in favor of a wide ranging agenda about sexual mores.
The 2030 agenda jettisoned the maternal health framework set up in the Millennium Development Goals and Ban’s Every Woman Every Child initiative placed more emphasis on family planning to reduce fertility in Africa than improving maternal and child health.
Guterres has the potential of ushering in different priorities. He has a pro-life record as a politician, and is not known as an ardent promoter of homosexual rights, even though the UN refugee agency was a pioneer in focusing on LGBT issues during his tenure.
In his UN debut Secretary-General-elect Guterres spoke of the growing distrust among citizens and governments and toward global institutions like the UN. He said it is time the UN recognizes its shortcomings and time to change.