January 19, 2016
WaterSan perspective Reporter
Amina J. Mohammed, Environment Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been announced as the new Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) effective as of April 5, 2016.
The former Assistant-Secretary General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Mohammed will chair the Steering Committee and guide the work of WSSCC’s Geneva-based Secretariat, its operations in 20 countries in Africa and Asia, and its 5,000 members in 150 countries.
Hosted by the United Nations Office of Project Services, WSSCC is the part of the United Nations devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of the most vulnerable people around the world.
Ms. Mohammed replaces the interim-Chair, Andrew Cotton, Emeritus Director of the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC, Loughborough University), and previous Chair, Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, Member of Parliament, Tanzania, and former Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
“WSSCC embodies the transformative spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting WASH at the national level as a strategic entry point for attaining multiple targets” says Ms. Mohammed.
“By improving sanitation and hygiene at scale in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, in particular, the Council is playing an important role in improving education and health, and in empowering women. I am proud to Chair an organization that understands that equality and universality must go hand-in-hand towards achieving a sustainable development agenda.”
As the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Mohammed worked systematically to ensure the successful adoption by Member States of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015.
She is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and previously held the position of Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, serving three Presidents over a period of six years. In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria.
From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project.
The appointment of Ms. Mohammed will build upon WSSCC’s tradition of having a Chair with experience serving as a senior official of the United Nations and who is a current or former government official. WSSCC is an organization that prides itself on the intersection of state and non-state actors, and the appointment of Ms. Mohammed will ensure that this continues.
Christopher W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC, welcomed Ms. Mohammed, saying, “The issues of sanitation and hygiene are crucial to improving health and development. In the post-2015 era, we need strong global leadership to deepen our efforts, and bold ambition to advance a transformative agenda. I am confident that Ms. Mohammed will be instrumental in helping WSSCC translate global goals into local action, ensuring governments enable communities and that organizations bring about meaningful change at scale.”
In her role as Chair of WSSCC, Ms. Mohammed plans to draw upon her experience and network of contacts in politics, business, academia, and demonstrated knowledge of the United Nations, to raise awareness about practical solutions to improving sanitation and hygiene.
Under her leadership, WSSCC intends to continue its current growth, notably of its Global Sanitation Fund, a catalytic facility that supports the establishment of national sanitation and hygiene improvement programmes in Africa and Asia. Programmes supported by GSF have empowered over 8 million people in 36,000 communities to improve their sanitation, adopt good hygiene practices, and drive local process that contribute directly to education, health and economic development.