UN Secretary-General designate Antonio Guterres has selected women representing Asia, Africa and Latin America for three top jobs as the foundation of his pledge to promote gender parity and geographic diversity at the world body.
In his first personnel appointments, he nominated Nigeria’s Environment Minister Amina Mohammed to be the deputy secretary-general.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil is to be his chef de cabinet and Kyung-wha Kang of South Korea his special advisor on policy, a new position.
Gutterres told reporters after his swearing in on Monday that his priority would be to appoint more women to top jobs in order to achieve gender parity at the world body.
“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women from different regions of the world,” he said on Thursday.
“These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity.”
The three appointments of women comes after the failure of the UN to elect a woman as the secretary-general despite a strong campaign on their behalf and the emergence of several strong women candidates.
Women are under-represented at all levels in the UN bureaucracy. Only 17 of the 79 under-secretaries-general are women.
Mohammed was Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special advisor on post-2015 development planning before returning to Nigeria as environment minister.
The daughter of a Nigerian father and a British mother, her entire career was spent on development and related issues.
A career diplomat, Viotti is now Brazil’s ambassador to Germany. Before that she was at the UN as her country’s permanent representative.
Kang, who was once a broadcast journalist, works for the US as an assistant secretary-general and deputy emergency relief coordinator. Earlier she was the deputy high commissioner for human rights.