Photo by IISD/ENB
story highlights

In her first official statement as UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed said achieving the SDGs will require all countries to "redefine traditional planning, delivery and monitoring,” addressing ECOSOC's 2017 operational segment.

At the ‘Solve at the UN’ event, she highlighted the SDGs' role in preventing disaster, conflict and crisis.

Mohammed identified three principles for future work: strengthening leadership; addressing the trust deficit; and focusing on country-level results.

7 March 2017: In her first official statement as UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require all countries to “redefine traditional planning, delivery and monitoring,” addressing the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) 2017 operational segment on 28 February 2017. Mohammed also highlighted the SDGs’ role in preventing disaster, conflict and crisis, in remarks at the ‘Solve at the UN’ event, on 7 March 2017.

“Achieving the SDGs is not an option,” Mohammed told ECOSOC, but “an imperative for a safe and secure future of prosperity, opportunity and human rights for all.” At the ‘Solve the UN’ event, she described the SDGs’ achievement as “our only insurance policy.” Noting that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has prioritized crisis prevention, she emphasized that working towards the Goals is an investment in preventing crises, as the SDGs can help address global challenges like poverty, hunger, climate change, clean air and water, sanitation, sustainable cities and agriculture.

Mohammed also said achieving the SDGs requires that “we reinvent ourselves” and take “a bolder approach” to financing and partnerships, such as the creation of incentives for collaboration, in her remarks to ECOSOC. She told ‘Solve at the UN’ participants that while some ways to achieve the SDGs exist or are being created, some “still need to be dreamed up.” Calling for collaboration to develop ways to achieve both the SDGs and Paris Agreement on climate change, she said solutions must be holistic and that each effort must support work to achieve all other SDGs. Mohammed also urged: leveraging data and technology to benefit people; empowering youth to be agents of peace and development; and bringing effective governance to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

On countries in special situations, the Deputy Secretary-General called for bolstering efforts in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) to build resilience and reduce vulnerability. She also stressed that Africa “needs to remain a UN priority.” On addressing inequality, Mohammed recognized challenges related to inequitable development, gender discrimination, unemployment and underemployment, and urged focusing on “those furthest behind first.”

Mohammed will coordinate work on the QCPR, with an immediate focus on recommendations that the UN Secretary-General will deliver in June 2017.

On the UN system, Mohammed called for rethinking how the UN works, in order to focus on results more than process, and to achieve greater integration, coordination, accountability and transparency. She recommended that the UN tailor its efforts to national priorities and capacities, become more agile, cohesive and effective at the country level, scale up capacities at regional and global levels, and reassert its role as “the global knowledge hub and the setter of norms and standards.” On the quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR), Mohammed informed that she will take the lead in coordinating the work, with an immediate focus on a first set of recommendations that the UN Secretary-General will deliver in June 2017. She stressed the process will be open, transparent and inclusive.

Mohammed identified three principles for future work: strengthening leadership to promote coherence and integration at all levels; addressing the trust deficit, including by improving governance and making the system more responsive to national priorities; and focusing on country-level results, including through building long-term resilience. She said building trust will entail moving beyond agency mandates to focus on contributions to global goals and system-wide commitments.

ECOSOC’s three-day operational activities segment convened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 28 February to 2 March 2017. ‘Solve at the UN’ is a collaboration between the UN Department of Public Information’s UN Academic Impact and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) ‘Solve’ initiative. At the event, which took place on 7 March, over 40 selected innovators pitched solutions to challenges related to refugee education chronic diseases and carbon impact. Successful innovators will receive support and establish partnerships to implement their ideas. [UN Press Release on ECOSOC Segment] [UN Press Release on Solve at the UN] [UN Deputy-Secretary General Statement at ECOSOC] [UN Deputy-Secretary-General Statement at Solve] [Solve Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on ECOSOC Segment]


related events