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UN deputy responds to criticism over Ukraine conflict: Amina Mohammed

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Russian is one among five nations that hold a veto power on the U.N’s Security Council.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The United Nations deputy secretary-general has told CNBC there shall be “lessons learned” from the war in Ukraine.

Speaking Wednesday after the discharge of the U.N’s “2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report,” Amina Mohammed said the Russia-Ukraine crisis had been “an enormous shock to the system.”

Asked if the world could have done more to stop the war before it began, Mohammed said “hindsight is 20-20 vision.”

“After all, there are things that we could have done to stop the war, but perhaps those are going to be lessons learned again, when the Security Council, the General Assembly leaders will look back and say, ‘what could we’ve done, and be sure that that we prevent the following war, the following pandemic’. These are all things that we’re learning. I believe history tells us that we’re not superb learners in relation to that,” she said.

“I believe that this was so unimaginable, unexpected, that we would have this type of a war in Europe, you recognize, 75 years later, I believe has been an enormous shock to the system. So, I hope that the learnings will find ways to make us more accountable to place within the checks and balances that this does not ever occur again, and that we’re working towards peace.”

Mohammed, who previously served as Nigeria’s minister of environment, also chairs the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, arrange by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to have a look at the broader impact of the Ukraine war on the “world’s most vulnerable.”

Trip to Moscow

Guterres traveled to Moscow this week to satisfy with President Vladimir Putin for the primary time since Russia invaded Ukraine. He also met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday in Kyiv. Russian is one among five nations that hold a veto power on the U.N’s Security Council.

Guterres agreed with Putin on an evacuation route from the besieged city of Mariupol, but his trip got here amid criticism that the U.N. Security Council has only managed to play a limited role throughout the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

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

“And I believe they are going to proceed to deal with that, and there are conversations and resolutions that shall be recommend to see how one can do higher than we’ve been capable of do and to place within the checks and balances to guard the [U.N.] Charter. That is a very powerful thing. The Charter that guarantees the people who we’d not see a war again, as we did in World War II,” she said.

Mohammed became U.N. deputy secretary-General in 2017 and was reappointed in January 2022.

Asked how relevant she thinks a corporation just like the United Nations is to the world today, she said she understood outside frustration toward it.

“If we did not have the U.N. today, we would need to recreate it tomorrow. It’s the worldwide townhall for our global village. We’re so interconnected today that that is not going to alter,” she said.

“And we want an area where we will come and we will speak to the problems, human rights, our development, our conflicts, and you recognize, some days we’ll have a voice that is loud and a few days, it isn’t very loud. Some days we are going to make movement, some days we is not going to, but probably the most vulnerable of nations needs this space.”

‘Great finance divide’

Mohammed, who can also be chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, recently presented the “2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report” — a joint effort from the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development, which incorporates greater than sixty United Nations Agencies and international organizations.

The report highlights a post-pandemic “great finance divide,” with poorer countries unable to boost enough funds or borrow affordably for investment, making them unable to take a position in sustainable development or reply to crises.

“We’re facing type of a large number of crises, the climate, the pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine, and the financing piece of this really just involves exhibit how the recommendations through the years are much more needed today. And you will see that a few of those recommendations speak to the framing across the financial divide that we see on this planet today,” Mohammed said.

“So most of the recommendations are about access to finance, they’re about higher tax systems, they’re about addressing illicit financial flows, but they’re also about taking cognizance of the debt that’s mounting, and the crises that’s exacerbating it.”

Mohammed originally joined the U.N. in 2012 as special advisor to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and led the method to determine the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

She said she was “extremely anxious” concerning the current global financial situation and that “there’s not enough recognition that the urgency and scale of the investments that have to occur right away, should occur.”

 

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