October 26, 2023

By Angela He and Autumn Buckley, Assistants to the President

The United Nations (UN) stands as a beacon of hope and progress in our world, and its mission to maintain peace among nations is more indispensable than ever. In an enlightening interview with Angelique M. Crumbly, the Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the significance of increasing awareness about the UN's mission becomes evident.

Assistant Secretay-General Crumbly's remarkable journey into the UN system is a testament to her dedication to public service. Her career path began as a civil servant in the U.S. government, but she transitioned to the Department of the Army, where she honed her skills in programming and management. Notably, she was appointed by President Obama, becoming the first Black woman to serve as the Assistant Administrator for Management in the Bureau for Management. She states, "No matter what, if you work with integrity, work hard, are a technical innovator, and are forward-looking, you will be able to achieve big things."

In 2019, Angelique joined the United Nations, where she took on her current role. She lauds organizations like UNA-USA for their efforts in raising public awareness about the UN. UNDP, under her leadership, has demonstrated unparalleled transparency, with 92 cents of every dollar going directly into program interventions. In the past year alone, UNDP achieved remarkable milestones, such as registering 27 million new voters, providing clean and sustainable energy to 4.6 million people, and assisting over 9 million individuals in Ukraine in gaining access to essential e-services. Angelique also stresses the importance of having a strong operational platform within an organization such as the UN, which enables it to operate and achieve goals efficiently. She remarks, "A strong operational platform means that you can make good use of resources because you have the necessary financing and forecasting tools, as well as controls, in place. It means that you are able to make informed decisions because you have accurate and readily available data. Finally, it also means that you can recruit the right people and experts."

Crumbly underscores the importance of a robust operational platform within the UN, enabling efficient resource utilization, data-driven decision-making, and the recruitment of the right experts. She emphasizes that development is about the future and highlights the role of the UN and UNA-NCA in focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the face of international crises, UNDP has spearheaded initiatives like supporting the FSO SAFER operation in Yemen, aiding Ukraine's emergency services, and promoting green energy projects in the Sahel. A $15.5 million decarbonizing transportation project in the Samoa's showcases UNDP's commitment to sustainable development.

Crumbly concludes by reiterating the importance of a robust operational platform, exemplifying, "We need to mobilize the community to engage and better our world - it is by working together that we will be able to identify new ideas to continue shaping how we respond to the challenges our world now faces," especially when addressing unexpected challenges. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 78th birthday of the United Nations, we are presented with a world full of opportunities and challenges. Angelique Crumbly's insights provide a clear and compelling picture of the UN's vital role in addressing global challenges, emphasizing the dedication and strategies required for success in international diplomacy and sustainable development.

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