Amina Mohammed, the incoming UN Deputy Secretary-General, has thanked Secretary-General-designate, António Guterres, and President Muhammadu Buhari for the confidence they reposed in her.
Ms. Mohammed, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, in New York said she would continue to lay strong foundations for the various ongoing initiatives critical to the Federal Government’s success in the environment sector.
“The opportunity and responsibility to serve people and planet as the next UN Deputy Secretary-General is truly humbling.
“I am most grateful for the confidence and trust demonstrated by the United Nations Secretary-General-designate António Guterres and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As directed by Mr President, I will continue in the meantime to lay strong foundations with various important ongoing initiatives critical to the government success in the environment sector.
“These include our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement, the successful launch of the first Sovereign Green Bonds in 2017, the ongoing Ogoni clean-up and development of the Great Green Walls.”
The Minister of Environment also thanked her colleagues and the various stakeholders in the environment sector.
“The next phase of my continued service to the people of Nigeria at the global level, will certainly build on the rich insights and lessons drawn from engaging with leaders, colleagues and stakeholders across our beloved nation.”
She recalled her positions of responsibilities over the last three decades and her contributions to the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, and recently working for environment protection as part of President Buhari’s vision to transform Nigeria.
“I have been blessed with the unwavering support and inspiration from leaders, colleagues, activists and stakeholders from the polluted creeks in the Niger-Delta, to the eroded (Kumaro and Alpha) and overflowing (Makoko) communities in Lagos,
“Nnaka erosion site in Anambra and others through the polluted Sharada industrial sites of Kano, the drought-affected areas (Bama) in Borno as well as the degraded dunes in Yobe and other parts of the catchment area of the disappearing Lake Chad.
“I will continue to work for the rights of the poor, especially women and the youth, ensuring we leave no one behind,” Ms. Mohammed pledged.
Mr. Guterres announced Ms. Mohammed’s appointment on Thursday alongside the duo of Maria Viotti of Brazil and Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea into high-profile positions at the UN.
“I am pleased to announce that I will be appointing Ms. Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as my Deputy Secretary-General, and Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as my Chef De Cabinet.
“I also intend to create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and to appoint Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea to this new role.
“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action.
“These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity,” Mr. Guterres said.
Prior to her appointment by Mr. Buhari as the environment minister, she served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.
She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals.
She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.
She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Others include the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, and the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
She is also on the UN Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project.
Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Ms. Mohammed is married and has six children.
Mr. Guterres had hinted on Monday after he took the oath of office that gender parity would be top of his agenda as the UN scribe.
“I think that one very important element of the agenda would be to give a clear signal that gender parity is a must and so in the appointments I will be making.
“And the first ones would be announced soon. You’ll see that gender parity will become a clear priority from top to bottom in the UN and it will have to be respected by all.”
“This is a very ambitious agenda, an agenda that must be for both woman and man, and that is why parity is so important in our reform perspectives.
“That is also why the empowerment of women is so important in everything the UN will be doing around the world,” the incoming UN scribe said.
Mr. Guterres, succeeds outgoing secretary-general Ban, who bows out on December 31, 2016 after a decade of two terms, while the new secretary-general assumes office on January 1, 2017, for the next five years.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the appointment of Ms. Mohammed.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Mr. Buhari expressed happiness that Mrs Mohammed would join the next United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his Deputy.
The statement said the president spoke with the in-coming Secretary- General, Guterres, who called earlier on Thursday evening to inform him (President Buhari) of his decision to pick Mrs Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary-General.
“President Buhari used the opportunity to reiterate his support and congratulations to Mr. Antonio Guterres on his upcoming tenure in the service.’’
According to the statement, the president endorses the “excellent selection of Amina J. Mohammed as the next Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
“By her appointment, Nigeria has been honoured,” the President was quoted as saying.
President Buhari thanked Mrs. Mohammed for her untiring contribution to transform Nigeria and said he looked forward to sustained collaboration between the UN and Nigeria.
He said he had no doubt that she would continue to make Nigeria proud at the global level.
The statement added that: “It is expected that the Minister of Environment will be transitioning to her new role in March 2017.
“In the meantime, it is expected that she will continue to lay strong foundations with various important ongoing initiatives critical to the government’s success in the Environment sector.
“These include, but not limited to, implementation of our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Agreement, the successful launch of the Sovereign Green Bonds in 2017, the ongoing Ogoni cleanup and development of the Great Green Wall.”
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