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DSG/SM/1646
12 October 2021

Warning of ‘Lopsided Recovery’, Deputy Secretary-General Calls for New Social Contract, Investment in Youth, at Nigeria Ministerial Retreat

(Delayed for technical reasons)

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina J. Mohammed’s video message to the Ministerial Performance Review retreat, in Nigeria, on 4 October:

Thank you for inviting me to address you today.  In various countries, we are seeing stark reminders of the risk to development of poverty and economic collapse, conflict, political instability and natural disasters.

Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives and livelihoods and disrupted economies and societies.  Today, a lopsided recovery is deepening inequalities.

Nigeria has so far weathered COVID-19 better than many feared, but we must keep our guard up and use the recovery as an opportunity to pivot to a greener, more resilient and sustainable world for all and for future generations.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals show the way, but we must pick up the pace.  We need a paradigm shift in our approach to development.  We need to rebuild trust and social cohesion through a renewed social contract that also gives weight to the interests of future generations.  This is what the Secretary-General’s called for in his report on Our Common Agenda.

In Nigeria, this requires a robust vaccination drive to put an end to the pandemic.  This will require a comprehensive plan for a just transition to sustainable energy and an inclusive, sustainable development model.  And building upon the commitments made at the Food Systems Summit last month, the implementation of National Pathways to Food Systems Transformation that Nigeria announced.

The Ministerial Performance Review of policies, programmes and projects of the Nigerian Government comes at a crucial time.  It is an opportunity to take stock of what worked and where course correction is needed to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda.

Nigerians have enormous potential and incredible assets to enable us to meet this challenge — first and foremost, the dynamism of our young people.  Investing in education and training, health, digital technology and access to energy, especially targeting Nigeria’s youth, are key.

I urge you to work closely with international partners to mobilize finance for these critical investments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  The new allocation of Special Drawing Rights to Nigeria provides a unique opportunity in that regard.

Across all this, you can continue to count on the strong partnership and deep cooperation between Nigeria and the United Nations as Nigeria charts its path towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Decade of Action.

I wish you a successful retreat.

For information media. Not an official record.