Nigeria New UN’s Deputy Secretary General Promises All-Inclusive Leadership

The new Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mrs. Amina Mohammed, has promised not to leave anyone behind during her tenure in office.

Mohammed said that she would start with those that are furthest behind, to see how, in a robust manner, that everyone is brought into the sustainable development agenda and address gender barriers that have been seen constantly in the world.

While addressing the 2017 ECOWAS Meeting Documents (ECODOC) segment on operational activities for development at UN the Headquarters in New York, Mohammed, the fifth deputy secretary-general, stressed the need to empower youth, who are agents of peace and development.

 “I can say that in the recent 15 months that I have been home, after helping to shape the 2030 Agenda, youth have been the greatest challenge that we have faced, but also the greatest potential to finding solutions for peace and development.”While promising to support the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in the comprehensive review of the UN development system in in close consultation with member states, Mrs. Mohammed noted that the three major agendas that were agreed in 2015, were of advantage to them and were really from an inclusive process where member-states owned it and lead on it.

“And so supporting them to get an ambitious response at the country level is one that I believe will have a much easier task than we would have had previously. Therefore, those consultations will be given utmost priority,” she added.

Speaking about her concern for the impact of the new United States administration’s announcement of major cuts, including to the State Department, on the UN budget, Mohammed said: “I think any cuts, wherever they come, are of great concern with an agenda that is so much more ambitious, and we have many more complex issues to deal with.

“I think the important thing that we need to do is to continue to engage with our partners and to show how important it is not to decrease but to increase, and find different ways of doing so. It may not be in the traditional ways forward. I think the UN agenda for transformation reform also speaks to much more accountability for results, and I think, you know, member states would like to see that.”

Also speaking on her expectations on the $4 billion famine drive, the deputy secretary general noted that it is a huge crisis and we need to be ahead of the curve and not behind it. “This famine is not just going to be limited to the four countries if we don’t address it in a very urgent way. I think that the results that we saw in Oslo recently are warming and this is showing that there is a way forward on some of this. We need to listen to some of the issues that were raised there.

“Again, bringing agencies and partnerships together in a much more coordinated and coherent manner, will help us get further, leveraging resources from different constituencies now, different partnerships in a global agenda.”

Answering questions on the importance she attaches to the prevention agenda and the reform launched by Mr. Guterres, she said: “The results that we want to see are actioned on the 2030 agenda. Looking at the root causes, if you look at the integration of the 2030 agenda, you will see a lot of prevention work in there, a lot of addressing the jobless, inequalities, improving peoples’ economies beyond GDP.

“I think the prevention agenda gives us an opportunity to look at the three dimensions. We always say there cannot be peace without development, and no development without peace, and human rights at the centre of that. So bringing it closer together is work that we will have to do, and keeping a conscious effort that that is the result that we want to see, that we don’t see these conflicts again which in many, many cases, investments of scale would have prevented.

“Looking at partners like the private sector, not just CSR but seeing how their business models themselves can change and also take care of the bottom line, which of course, is what private sectors and business can do.”

On security reform, she promised that it is something that she would do to support the Secretary-General, as he has given her a huge amount to deliver on. “I think that Security Council reform is a critical part of what we do in the next few years and somehow, we have to balance that if we want to address the prevention agenda,” she added.