OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, met on March 10th, 2017 with the new Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Amina J. Mohammed. Ms. Mohammed is a former Minister of Environment in Nigeria. The Secretary General began by conveying, personally and on behalf of the OPEC Secretariat, warm and heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Mohammed on her recent assumption of the position of Deputy Secretary-General of the UN.
He said: “This well-deserved appointment acknowledges your tireless work on a wide range of global issues”, including her instrumental role in the COP 21 Paris Agreement and her commitment to sustainable development in terms of bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He added that the appointment is also a celebration of Nigeria and its people and will be a source of great pride to Nigerians all over the world.
Ms. Mohammed thanked the OPEC Secretary General for his visit and highlighted the importance of all stakeholders engaging in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and issues related to sustainable development. She said it was vital to improve advocacy, to ensure that people and organizations do not work in silos on these vital global issues, and to be practical and creative in finding entry points into the process for businesses, industry sectors, organizations and governments.
The Secretary General said that OPEC and its Member Countries were looking forward to collaborating with her and the UN in future, on the climate and sustainable development agendas, particularly highlighting the need to tackle energy poverty around the world.
In terms of the international climate change negotiations, he stated that OPEC Member Countries welcomed the early enforcement of the Paris Agreement on climate change toward the end of 2016, and they are committed to play a role in its implementation. “All 13 OPEC Member Countries have signed the Agreement and all are in the process of ratifying it,” he added.
He also discussed with the Deputy Secretary-General his recent collaboration held with Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), most recently at CERAWeek 2017 in Houston. He said that the talks in Houston had specifically focused on “enhancing collaboration between OPEC and the UNFCCC, on such matters related to climate change, sustainable development and economic diversification.”
The two officials also discussed the work being undertaken by the initiative ‘Sustainable Energy for All’, which is concentrated on driving actions and mobilizing commitments to positively transform the world’s energy systems, as well as the work being undertaken to alleviate energy poverty by OPEC’s sister organization, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
The OPEC Secretary General stressed that Ms. Mohammed’s outstanding achievements will be an inspiration to women all over the world. “I have no doubt your prominent new position at the United Nations”, he said, will encourage “women to aspire to such high-profile roles, and to believe that nothing is out of their reach.”