The U.N. Security Council approved Friday a second five-year term for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a critical last step before the 192-member General Assembly holds the definitive vote next week.
The vote by acclamation came after a one-day delay due to what U.N. diplomats described as procedural and technical hold ups from some Latin American countries.
The entire world body is virtually certain to endorse Ban, 67, when it considers the matter Tuesday. There are no other candidates.
The council said it "recommends to the General Assembly that Mr. Ban Ki-moon be appointed secretary-general of the United Nations for a second term of office from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016."
The former South Korean foreign minister earlier secured the backing of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council _ the U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain _ which were key for approving the recommendation.
Visiting Brasilia, Brazil, on a Latin America tour, Ban said he was "deeply honored" by the council's recommendation. "It's an immense privilege to serve this great organization as Secretary-General, and I am grateful for the confidence and support."
Ban said that although he is proud of what he and other U.N. officials had accomplished during his first five years, "I am aware of the formidable challenges ahead."
"In the 21st century, the United Nations matters in a different and deeper way," he said. "I am motivated and prepared to continue our work together with the member states, upholding the principles enshrined in the (U.N.) charter."
Although it was widely known that Ban would seek a second term, he didn't officially announce his intention to stay on until last week. He pledged to keep leading the world body as a "bridge-builder" at a time of global change.
"During the past 4 1/2 years, we have undertaken important work and found common ground on critical global issues of peace and security _ from Somalia to Sudan, Ivory Coast to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East and far beyond," Ban said in a letter to the council "humbly" offering to be considered for a second term.
During a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean ambassadors last week, some envoys said their countries wanted to hold off on endorsing Ban until after his current trip to the region, some said their presidents had not yet seen the secretary-general's letter seeking a second term, and some expressed regret there was only one candidate, said a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.
The official said there was no outright opposition to Ban's candidacy.
Ban has been criticized for lacking charisma and failing to criticize human rights abuses in powerful countries such as China and Russia.
But he has won praise for his commitment to climate change, nuclear disarmament and women's issues, as well as his strong recent backing of pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East, and for military intervention in Ivory Coast and Libya.
Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations.