Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered his heartfelt congratulations to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Pope Francis on his assumption of the papacy, and to all Catholics across the world on the occasion of the election of the new Pontiff.
"I look forward to continuing cooperation between the United Nations and the Holy See, under the wise leadership of His Holiness Pope Francis," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued immediately after the announcement was made at the Vatican.
"We share many common goals - from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger - all core elements of sustainable development," he added.
"We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today's world through dialogue. I am certain that His Holiness will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in the promotion of inter-faith dialogue which is at the heart of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative."
The 76-year-old new Pope hails from Argentina.