The incoming UN secretary general, António Guterres, has announced that Nigeria’s environment minister, Amina Mohammed, will be his deputy and appointed two other women to key leadership posts.
Guterres has made achieving gender parity at the world body a priority of his tenure, which begins on 1 January. Women currently fill less than one in four leadership positions at the UN.Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, a senior Brazilian foreign ministry official, will serve as Guterres’s chief of staff, and Kyung-wha Kang of South Korea has been appointed to the new position of special adviser on policy.Mohammed had been widely tipped to become UN deputy secretary general after she led successful negotiations on the sustainable development goals – 17 targets agreed by the United Nations to end extreme poverty by 2030. She succeeds Jan Eliasson of Sweden.Viotti, currently Brazil’s undersecretary for Asia and the Pacific, has previously served as ambassador to Germany and as UN envoy. She helped shape Brazil’s role within the Brics club of emerging economies and has worked as director for human rights in the foreign ministry.Kang is currently head of Guterres’s transition team and has served as deputy UN aid chief since April 2013.Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal who led the UN refugee agency for 10 years, won election as UN chief despite calls from some member states for a woman to be chosen for the first time in the organisation’s 71-year history.He said after taking the oath of office on Monday that “gender parity is a must” and “will become a clear priority from top to bottom in the UN”.Guterres will succeed Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, who led the UN through two five-year terms.