Edward Kallon formally begins his tour of duty in Nigeria, promises to lead an efficient and responsive UN System

Dec 15, 2016

UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Kallon [left] presenting his letters of credence to Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja (Photo, UNDP Nigeria/Lucky Musonda)

Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Edward Kallon on the occasion of the Presentation of His Letters of Credence to the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs December 15, 2016.

[Protocol]

Please allow me to express my appreciation to the Government and people of Nigeria and in particular to you, Honourable Minister and your able team, for the opportunity to present my letters of credence to you today , given your tight schedules and other competing official commitments at this time of the year.

In some jurisdictions, this opportunity comes after long negotiations and with passage of time.  I would like to mention that I was impressed by the record time within which my assignment to this country was approved by the Federal Government. This was a strong and positive signal to me as a son of ECOWAS which reinforced my long held views and respect of the power and stature of Nigeria in the subregion and continent as a whole. It gives me a great hope and emboldens my commitment to do more for this great country as I take up my role as Head of the UN System in Nigeria.

I am extremely happy to be back to the West African region and to Nigeria after over two decades of service with the United Nations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Bangladesh, Iraq, India and Jordan. I feel am back home to serve my brothers and sisters.

Your Excellency, I realize, I am coming to Nigeria at a time when a lot is expected from the UN to support the current administration to address many challenges including the current economic recession, the humanitarian situation in the North East and the need to enhance UN support towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Agenda 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063 as we formulate our next country assistance framework in Nigeria.

I am also aware that I am starting my tenure as the Head of the UN in Nigeria (a Representative of the Secretary General H.E Ban Ki moon and the incoming SG, Mr. Antonio Guterres) at a time when questions are being raised by partners on the role of the UN in Nigeria. This is compounded by the concerns of some stakeholders, especially the government on our mode of engagement in the North-East. While these may be perceptions, I intend to use the UN system’s collective resolve to make sure they do not become reality.

In this respect, I intend to work with my colleagues in the UNCT to “Deliver as One”and speak with One Voice on critical issues of concern on UN-Nigeria relations and on our interventions in Nigeria.

I will lead the UN system in Nigeria to support implement the SDGs. The United Nations will partner and support the Government in mainstreaming the SDGs into national, sub-national, and local plans for development; and subsequently into budget allocations. The SDGs mainstreaming, we believe, goes beyond making appropriate references to the SDGs in plans and documents, to making conscious efforts on a much greater scale -- strengthening policy integration, efficient use of available resources, adoption of innovative ways to collect and analyse data, and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships. I am pleased to state that, the UN new Country Assistance Framework (CCA/UNDAF) in Nigeria has the SDGs as its foundation.

On effective coordination of humanitarian assistance, I want to assure you that, the UN will support Government by promoting vertical and horizontal linkages in national leadership and ownership, to bridge humanitarian and development assistance through a resilience based approach. The principles of a resilience-based approach will function as the anchor for bringing humanitarian and development assistance under one coherent framework with flexibility to ensure that humanitarian imperatives are met in the short term. We will also continue to ensure that humanitarian assistance is principled, timely, effective, efficient, and contributes to longer-term development among the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities in Nigeria.

Your Excellency, I wish to underscore the excellent cooperation between the United Nations and Nigeria and my commitment to build on it. We all have a contribution to make to the life of this great UN member country – the large proportion of the poor and the vulnerable, leaving no one behind.

I am personally committed to work with the Government of Nigeria to connect the dots in international cooperation and leverage strategic partnerships with the international community to scale up humanitarian assistance in the short term in northeast Nigeria and enhance upstream and downstream knowledge transfer through south-south and triangular cooperation and evidence based policy support as a vehicle for transformative change in Nigeria.

I will foster team work among UN Agencies to manage for results and support the Government and people of Nigeria to alleviate poverty, address inequalities and enhance inclusive growth.

In the spirit of our excellent cooperation, allow me to appreciate the government and people of Nigeria for the commitment to completing the UN house so the UN Family could return to that symbol of our cooperation in Nigeria.

I look forward to seeing you, hearing and sharing ideas and working with you and the people of Nigeria to achieve the best for the giant of Africa-­­­­Nigeria. 

I thank you all for the warm welcome to Nigeria and for this privilege and opportunity to serve in Nigeria.

Please read Edward Kallon's profile here

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Mr.

Lucky Musonda
lucky.musonda@undp.org