UN MP responds to criticism over Ukraine conflict: Amina Mohammed

Russia is one of five nations that hold veto power in the UN Security Council.

Carlos Allegri | Reuters

The UN deputy secretary-general told CNBC that there will be “lessons to be learned” from the war in Ukraine.

Speaking on Wednesday after the release of the UN’s ‘Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2022’“, Amina Mohammed said the Russian-Ukrainian crisis had been “a big shock to the system”.

When asked if the world could have done more to stop the war before it started, Mohammed replied that “hindsight is a 20-20 view”.

“Of course, there are things we could have done to stop the war, but maybe those lessons will be learned again, when the Security Council, the leaders of the General Assembly look back and say, ‘what could we have done, and make sure we prevent the next war, the next pandemic’. These are all things we learn. I think history tells us we’re not very good learners at it,” she said.

“I think it was so unimaginable, unexpected, that we would have this kind of war in Europe, you know, 75 years later, I think it was a big shock to the system. So hopefully the lessons will be finding ways to make ourselves more accountable to put in place the checks and balances so that this never happens again and that we work towards peace.”

Mohammed, who was previously Nigeria’s environment minister, also chairs the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, set up by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to examine the broader impact of the war in Ukraine on the “world’s most vulnerable populations”. .”

Trip to Moscow

Guterres traveled to Moscow this week to meet President Vladimir Putin for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. He also met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday in Kyiv. Russia is one of five nations that hold veto power in the UN Security Council.

Guterres agreed with Putin on an escape route from the beleaguered city of Mariupol, but his trip came amid criticism that the UN Security Council failed to play only a limited role during the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

Indeed, Zelenskyy called for reform in an impassioned speech to the Council in April. Mohammed said this was an issue that member states of the Security Council had “been grappling with for a very long time”.

“And I think they will continue to address that, and there will be conversations and resolutions that will be offered to see how we can do better than what we have been able to do and put in place the checks and balances to protect the [U.N.] Charter. This is the most important thing. The Charter that promises the people that we will never see war again, as we did in World War II,” she said.

Mohammed became UN Under-Secretary-General in 2017 and was reappointed in January 2022.

When asked how relevant she thinks an organization like the United Nations is to today’s world, she said she understands the outward frustration with her.

“If we didn’t have the UN today, we would have to recreate it tomorrow. It’s the global town hall of our global village. We are so interconnected today that that won’t change,” she said. declared.

“And we need a space where we can come and we can talk about issues, about human rights, about our development, about our conflicts, and you know, some days we’ll have a voice that’s loud and some days it’s not very strong. Some days we will move, others not, but the most vulnerable countries need this space.”

“Great Financial Divide”

Mohammed, who is also the chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, recently presented the “2022 Report on Financing for Sustainable Development” a joint effort of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development, which includes more than sixty UN agencies and international organizations.

The report highlights a post-pandemic ‘great financial divide’, with poorer countries unable to raise enough funds or affordably borrow to invest, leaving them unable to invest in sustainable development or respond to crises.

“We are facing a kind of multitude of crises, the climate, the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine, and the funding for this really just comes to demonstrate how the recommendations over the years are even more necessary today. And you I will see that some of these recommendations speak to the framing around the financial divide that we see in the world today,” Mohammed said.

“A lot of the recommendations relate to access to finance, better tax systems, tackling illicit financial flows, but also raising awareness of mounting debt and worsening crises. “

Mohammed originally joined the UN in 2012 as a special adviser to former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and led the process of setting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said she was “extremely worried” about the current global financial situation and that “there is not enough recognition that the urgency and scale of investment that needs to happen at this time is expected to happen. produce”.

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