António Guterres is Portugal’s UN ‘success story’: the first Portuguese to hold the top post of secretary-general and the only Portuguese ever to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize for political bridge-building.
But this month, he’s made the cover of TIME magazine, for an altogether more sombre reason.
The shot of him up to his knees in a suit and tie, face a mixture of concern and seriousness, is entitled “Our planet is sinking”.
On the day newspapers here are describing how this coastal country has lost the equivalent of 100 football pitches-worth of shoreline in less than a decade, Guterres is featured on a visit to the south sea islands of Polynesia, designed to highlight the globe’s most vulnerable countries in the context of climate change – the issue he has described as “the battle of our lives”.
Says the cover: “Rising seas, fleeing residents, disappearing villages”.
Inside, the article by Justin Worland catalogues looming catastrophes facing island nations of the Pacific.
But it also stresses what the rest of the world can learn from their efforts to turn the tide.
In September, Guterres is planning to get world leaders round the table once again for a summit that he hopes will accelerate the process of cutting emissions powered by the Paris Climate Accord.
Time is running out, says Observador. “This is the message that put a Portuguese on the cover of the famous TIME magazine”…