3 September 2020

Deputy Secretary-General, at Round Table Featuring Young Women Economists, Stresses Need to Advance Concrete Proposals on Jobs, Climate Action

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s closing remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the second round table, “Insights from Young Women Economists on Jobs and Climate Action”, of the “Rebirthing the Global Economy to Deliver Sustainable Development” round table series, in New York today:

It has been an honour to be with you to witness the bold ideas put forward by a generation that is confronted by a world increasingly characterized by closure, rather than openness, xenophobia, rather than tolerance, vulnerability, rather than security, and above all, a world haunted by the existential threat of climate change.

While it is unfair that your generation has been called upon to shoulder these burdens that you did not create, young advocates are fighting for environmental, economic and racial justice — with a deep understanding that these are not separate battles, but interconnected.

There is a realization that the disadvantages that come with our current system affect people differently, and that the status, country and identity markers one is born with are little more than a matter of chance.  We require an intersectional lens to overcome these barriers.  And importantly, any effort that does not include women in creating the solution, will ultimately fail.

Today, we heard concrete, tangible and bold solutions to two pressing issues facing youth today — jobs and climate change.  And it has been a further reminder of the need for us to listen to the voices of this generation.  They are not the next generation; they are the current generation and leaders because it is, in fact, their world that we are building through our response and recovery to this crisis.

It is now our job to do justice to these solutions and ensure that we propel them forward in the Financing for Development initiative at the Ministers for Finance meeting next week and the high-level discussions of the General Assembly that will follow.  The voices we are hearing from this series will feed into the concrete policy discussions in the coming weeks, as well as other fora to ensure we can recover better from this pandemic.  We will then hold the last round table in this series in November — where we will bring together a gender balanced panel to reflect on the ideas we have heard thus far and consolidate concrete proposed actions to share ahead of the Heads of State meeting on financing for development.

We must remember that the one silver lining presented by COVID-19 is the unique moment it has granted — a moment in which stakeholders are willing to discuss the hard questions, including as they relate to our economic models and financial architecture, and pursue innovative solutions that were once relegated to the fringes of economic thought.  This would not have been possible even a few months ago.  We must come together to ensure that we capitalize on this moment and reorient the global financial system to make it truly work for all.  Systemic problems existed before and will continue to persist unless significant action is taken.  Building on your ideas today, I am confident that we are crafting the solutions we need for a more resilient, equal, inclusive and sustainable world as we overcome the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Thank you all for your participation.

For information media. Not an official record.