UN Dep Sec Gen says it's a great privilege to serve in UN

Ex-Minister in Nigeria, Amina Mohammed has expressed her delight to return to the UN to serve humanity.

Nigeria's Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed has been appointed as the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Mohammed made the remarks at the 2017 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Segment on Operational Activities for Development, her first official engagement as the Deputy UN scribe.

She said “I am pleased to be with you today in my first official event as Deputy Secretary-General.

“It is a great privilege to return to New York to serve the organization again under the inspiring leadership of Secretary-General António Guterres.

“I worked closely with many of you on finalising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Since then, as a Minister in Nigeria, I had first-hand experience of the importance and complexity of the task ahead in implementing these transformative commitments.”

The UN Deputy Chief said the organisation would need to establish and balance priorities, mobilise new investments, build dynamic new partnerships and persuade policy-makers and people everywhere to adopt new skills and perceptions.

She said “I look forward to working with you all to reposition the United Nations in support of your efforts and achievements.

“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is not an option. It is an imperative for a safe and secure future of prosperity, opportunity and human rights for all.”

Mohammed regretted that in spite of the progress of the past two decades, there were still complex challenges confronting the world, especially Africa.

“I have seen it in all regions, including in Africa, where I have seen poverty decline and democratic space expand as more and more people become connected by new communications and technologies.

“Still, because of its vulnerability, Africa needs to remain a United Nations priority; In so many ways, success in Africa is success for the world.

“Africa’s complementary Agenda 2063 and the promising reform of the African Union will ensure that we have a much more effective partner.

“We must also step up efforts in least developed, landlocked and small island developing states to reduce vulnerability and build resilience.

“Too many people have been left behind. The prosperity and benefits of globalisation have not been equitably shared.

“Half the planet’s wealth is controlled by a handful of rich men. Some 200 million people are still jobless.

“Many more are underemployed, working several jobs to make ends meet, or toiling under abusive conditions.

“Gender discrimination continues to limit the opportunities and potential of our women and girls in all countries, while anxiety mounts as societies cope with climate change.

“Urbanisation, population growth, water scarcity and massive movements of people, fear and mistrust increasingly drive political discourse. This is the context in which we meet.

“We must change this alarming narrative now; we have a plan – an ambitious one,” she stressed.

She explained that the 2030 Agenda was a plan for everyone, noting that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were universal, interlinked, indivisible and holistic.

Mohammed was earlier on Tuesday sworn in as the fifth Deputy Secretary-General of theUN at the UN Headquarters in New York.

She had recalled her positions of responsibilities over the last three decades and her contributions to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and recently working for environment protection as part of Buhari administration’s vision to transform Nigeria.

Mohammed served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs.

Before joining the UN, Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on MDGs.

She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.

Born in 1961 and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Mohammed is married with six children.

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