Antonio Guterres took charge as the UN Secretary General, making a strong appeal to the international community to strive for peace in 2017 at a time when millions of people are caught up in conflict and threat of global terrorism affects all.
"On this New Year's Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year's resolution: Let us resolve to put peace first," said 67-year-old Guterres, who succeeded Ban Ki-moon as the world's top diplomat.
He said one question weighs heavy on his heart, "how can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?"
"Peace must be our goal and our guide," he said on Wednesday, urging all citizens, governments and leaders to strive to overcome differences.
Guterres voiced concern that civilians are pounded with deadly force, women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute.
"Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted. No one wins these wars everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all," he said.
"I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace," he added. "Let us make 2017 a year in which we all citizens, governments, leaders strive to overcome our differences.
From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides. From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions," he said.
In a separate message, he also condemned the "despicable terrorist" attack on New Year celebrations at a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, in which dozens of people were killed and injured, including two Indian citizens who lost their lives.
Guterres extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and expressed his solidarity with the countries whose nationals were impacted.
He hoped that the organizers and perpetrators of this heinous act will be identified and brought to justice swiftly. Having been formally appointed by the UN General Assembly in October, Guterres will serve for a five-year period till December 2021. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.