Peace needed for effective implementation of humanitarian and development agenda, says Deputy Secretary-General in Ethiopia
09 February 2022
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, today concluded a five-day visit to Ethiopia where, on 5 February, she represented Secretary-General António Guterres at the thirty-fifth ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa.
She later visited four regions around Ethiopia – Amhara, Tigray, Afar and Somali -- where she underscored the determination of the United Nations to remain an impartial and engaged partner in its delivery of humanitarian assistance and provision of development support to the Government and all Ethiopians.
“The biggest call for the United Nations in Ethiopia is to urgently deliver humanitarian assistance to the people who need it most. This urgency is particularly important for women and children,” stated the Deputy Secretary-General at the conclusion of her visit.
Following the AU Summit, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed the remarks of the Secretary-General at the event that implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063 was “the cornerstone of the relationship between the two organizations”.
She said, “Opportunities to address Africa’s challenges are huge,” adding that, “It is important to align the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the AU’s Agenda 2063 for its diverse people to enjoy peace and security, and sustainable livelihoods.”
In her meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Deputy Secretary-General emphasized the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support the Government in its progress towards delivering the 2030 Agenda and for it to achieve its ambition to become a beacon of prosperity in this Decade of Action. The United Nations would do so with impartiality for all Ethiopians, she stated.
Further, from Sunday 6 to Wednesday 9 February, Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed met with Federal Government leaders and officials, regional authorities, clan leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the support of the United Nations to both Government and development partners to tackle challenges they faced in meeting humanitarian needs of families in their areas and to get on track to keep the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“When we find peace, we can begin the journey back to economic recovery, and the restoration of dignity and livelihoods,” the Deputy Secretary-General outlined. She pledged to the President of Afar region that, “The United Nations will accompany you through the conflict to peace and development. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid to all regions so that no Ethiopian will suffer.”
Moreover, Ms. Mohammed met with local populations, including youth and women, impacted by the conflict as well as by the ongoing drought.
Expressing sadness at the impact of the conflict on civilians as she was able to view firsthand, the Deputy Secretary-General, in all of her meetings, reiterated the Secretary-General’s appeal to all parties in Ethiopia for an immediate cessation of hostilities so effective humanitarian access could reach all those who are affected. Cessation of hostilities would also “pave the way to a much-needed inclusive national dialogue involving all Ethiopians”.
Additionally, she referred to the grave effects of the conflict experienced by women and children. She called for the immediate end to sexual and gender-based violence, among other atrocities, and cited the need for comprehensive physical and mental health support for all who experienced physical and psychological violence. She urged the authorities to involve women in their recovery and reconstruction efforts.
On the prolonged drought in Somali, highlighting the negative impact of climate change, the Deputy Secretary-General pointed out that climate action remained a pivotal part of the Sustainable Development Goals. She commended the Prime Minister’s plan to build more dams and develop water projects in Ethiopia as well as the initiative of the President of Somali region to undertake investment and development to improve the lives of his constituents. She also thanked the host communities for the strong support they were giving to pastoralists and others who were displaced from their homes to find watering points for their families and livestock.
Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Ethiopia, Ms. Catherine Sozi, who was part of the Deputy Secretary-General’s delegation, noted that, in 2021, the Organization was able to provide more than US$ 18 million in aid to those most in need in Somali. She disclosed that an additional US$ 20 million was about to be allocated to the region.
To emphasize the role of women and girls in sustainable development, the Deputy Secretary-General met, in Addis Ababa, with a group of young women entrepreneurs, who are part of a United Nations supported project. They shared concerns and tangibly highlighted the importance of their contribution to Ethiopia’s progress.
She was hopeful, she said, to see the “rich spirit of Ethiopian women” represented in the group. Further, she stated, “Young people have to care about the possibilities and opportunities available throughout the African continent.”
Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed was accompanied on her mission to Somali and Afar by Ethiopian President, Mrs. Sahle-Work Zewde.
Ms. Mohammed was appointed the fifth Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations by Secretary-General António Guterres in December 2016 and currently holds responsibility for the implementation of Agenda 2030 as Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group.