Incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced Nigeria’s Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed as his Deputy Secretary-General.
Guterres has also penend two other women for key leadership posts.
Senior Brazilian foreign ministry official, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, will serve as Guterres’ chief of staff while Kyung-wha Kang of South Korea was appointed to the new position of special advisor on policy.
Guterres made the announcement through the spokesman of the Secretary-General, Mr Stephane Dujarric.
“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,” Guterres said.
Nigeria’s Mohammed was widely tipped to become UN deputy secretary-general after she led the UN’s successful negotiations on the new sustainable development goals.
Mohammed 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, 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. They include 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 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, Mohammed is married and has six children.
Gender equality top of Guterres’ agenda
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.
Guterres, succeeds outgoing secretary-general Ban, who bows out on Dec. 31, 2016 after a decade of two terms, while the new secretary-general assumes office on Jan. 1, 2017, for the next five years.