Tobi Soniyi with agency report
The new UN Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday announced the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed as his Deputy Secretary-General.
Guterres made the announcement through the spokesman of the Secretary-General, Mr. Stephane Dujarric.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Guterres also announced the duo of Ms. Maria Viotti of Brazil and Ms. 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 Mrs. 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,” Guterres said.
Prior to her appointment as Minister of Environment a year ago, Mrs. Mohammed had served as the UN Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the 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, Mrs. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals.
She provided advice on issues including poverty alleviation, public sector reforms and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.
She was also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and served on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Others included 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 was 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, Mrs. Mohammed is married and has six children.
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.
Guterres is succeeding Ban, who will bow out on December 31, after a decade of two terms.
Reacting to Mrs. Mohammed’s appointment, President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed her elevation to the post of Deputy Secretary-General of the UN.
A statement by his media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the president spoke with Guterres who called to inform him (Buhari) of his decision to name Mrs. Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary-General yesterday evening.
Shehu said Buhari used the opportunity to reiterate his support for Guterres and congratulated him on his upcoming tenure.
He said the president endorsed the excellent selection of Mrs. Mohammed. “By her appointment, Nigeria has been honoured,” said the president.
Shehu said Buhari thanked Mrs. Mohammed for her untiring contributions 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: “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 clean-up and development of the Great Green Wall.”