Saturday, March 18, 2017

At UN, ICP Asks Deputy SG Amina Mohammed of Budget Cuts and Antibiotics

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 – When  UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed provided a briefing on antimicrobial resistance along with Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization on March 16, Inner City Press asked about the problem of overuse of antibiotics, and how WHO and the wider UN system will seek to address the looming budget cuts. "As a UN System," was the answer, once the specifics of the proposed cuts become more clear, and striving for greater efficiency including at the local level. Amina Mohammed said in the developing world there is much self-medication, due to the high costs of hospital. In the so-called developed world too.
  As Inner City Press live-tweeted Amina J. Mohammed's briefing, a reader chimed in about AMR in the developing world. Video of the press conference would have been useful, but since Inner City Press was summarilyevicted from its UN work space thirteen months ago it has no access to the UN in-house feed or high-speed download. This has yet to be addressed.
  Back on February 28 when Amina Mohammed was sworn in, a delegation from Nigeria and her family accompanied her. Less than two hours later she did her first media question and answer session as DSG, and Inner City Press asked her about the Green Bond she worked on as Nigerian Minister of the Environment, and if in her new role she will work on the issue of Security Council reform, to try to make the Council more representative. Video here.
  Mohammed said the Green Bond can get the private sector involved, and that reform of the Security Council along with Secretary General Antonio Guterres could help the agenda of preventive diplomacy. It's needed. Transcript below.
   The fact that Mohammed took questions within hours of taking office is a good sign, and even at the stakeout in front of the Economic and Social Council chamber Inner City Press encouraged her to keep holding such Q&A session. Ironically, Inner City Press is currently restricted unlike other correspondents from staking out ECOSOC and even the General Assembly, by a no due processeviction order by outgoing Under Secretary General for Communications Cristina Gallach. It should be reversed, immediately. The UN should treat the Press fairly, and start providing more rather than less Press access. Watch this site.

Transcript (also on YouTube, here)

Inner City Press: I saw that you worked on the Green Bond in Nigeria, and I wondered whether you think that that is a model that other emerging markets can use to secure [inaudible] projects, and also do you view it as part of your mandate to work on the issue of Security Council reform, in the sense of making it more representative, and having more countries represented on it? Thanks.

DSG Amina Mohammed: Well, on the Green Bond, I have to say it was an exciting initiative to use, to leverage, the implementation of the NDC. The first thought was: how do you do that, beyond the budget, and to bring this whole integration at country level. So, the sovereign Green Bond which will be the first ones issued at the end of March in emerging countries is very exciting, and I think that the model that should be taken there is that countries themselves need to go through a process that strengthens integration and that they institutionally can then rise to the opportunities of other financing coming into the international Green Bond market. And that is huge. It has also brought in a lot of the private sector into this, in a way, I think, that is constructive and gets government providing the enabling environment but the private sector really taking things to scale. It has to be about jobs and our economies improving in Africa, so yes, I do think that that is important.

On the second question on security reform, that is something that I will work to support the Secretary-General.  I think he has given me a huge amount to deliver on. I think that Security Council reform is a critical part of what we do in the next few years and somehow we have to balance that if we to address the prevention agenda. Thank you very much.