Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Environment, was sworn-in as the fifth Deputy Secretary-General of the UN at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
Ms. Mohammed says her responsibility at the UN will be to focus primarily on helping the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to reposition sustainable development as the heart of the organisation.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, administered the oath of office to Ms. Mohammed.
“I want to say that I am extremely, very, very proud that you accepted to join our team. Thank you very much,” Mr. Guterres told Ms. Mohammed.
At her first official press briefing, at the UN Headquarters in New York, Ms. Mohammed said while sustainable development was not an end in itself, it was the best way to achieve universal peace.
“The Secretary-General is committed to fast-track transformation. He has already outlined his underlying vision. His vision focuses on prevention over response.
“It lays greater emphasis on cross-pillar work to address the root causes of instability, vulnerability and conflict.
“He is determined to reposition sustainable and inclusive development at the heart of the UN. And he is committed to institutional capacity building across all areas of our work.”
She said three broad principles – strengthening leadership, addressing the trust deficit and focusing on results at the country level where all of those in need are – would underpin the work ahead.
“We will improve governance on system-wide issues that do not belong to any individual governing body.
“We will identify institutional incentives that can ensure collective guidance by Member States and make the system more responsive to national priorities.”
She, however, noted that delivering effectively would require a focus on building long-term resilience.
“We will need to bridge the gaps between humanitarian action, development and peace, anchored in human rights, and ensuring access to opportunity for all.
“Delivering effectively will also demand a serious rethinking of financing and operational arrangements. We need to create incentives for collaboration.
“And we need integrated approaches that respond to the complexity of the transformation that is necessary for peace, development and prosperity on a healthy planet.”
“We need also to build on what exists, while also being bold in challenging ourselves and introducing necessary changes,” the UN deputy chief said.
“Solutions from the past will not, alone, meet the challenges of the future,” Ms. Mohammed said.
She said strengthening impartial leadership of the UN development system for coherence and integration at all levels required a strong and adequately resourced coordination system that could provide effective planning and risk management, monitoring and evaluation.
The UN deputy scribe also said that it was necessary to address the trust deficit at the global multilateral organisation, which entailed accountability and transparency at all levels.