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President Kibaki travels to Brazil for UN Conference

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – President Mwai Kibaki left the country on Monday evening to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20).

During the conference President Kibaki will lead the Kenyan delegation in pushing for the upgrading of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into a United Nations Environment Organization (UNEO) based in Nairobi.

Kenya has been lobbying for the transformation of UNEP into a United Nations Environment Organization, with several key countries pledging their support.

An upgraded UNEP will be in a position to operate on an equal footing with other UN specialized agencies which enjoy stable and predictable funding.

This will enable the transformed environment organization effectively execute its mandate as the principle international body for environment.

In anticipation of a favourable outcome of the Rio conference, the Kenya Government has set aside a 16 acre piece of land, adjacent to the UN Complex at Gigiri, which could be used for the necessary expansion of infrastructure to cater for the proposed upgraded UNEP.

Other issues that will be discussed during the Rio conference include the reform and strengthening of the United Nations Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC) to enable the body to play an integrative role in promotion of the three pillars of sustainable development namely economic, social and environment.

The conference will also discuss the possible transformation of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) into a Sustainable Development Council (SDC) through a merger of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) and the Commission of Sustainable Development (CSD).

The plane carrying President Kibaki and his entourage departed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 11.00 p.m.

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The President was seen off at the airport by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Defence Minister Yusuf Haji, Assistant Minister Simeon Lesrima, Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Julius Karangi and acting Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Mr. Francis Kimemia among other senior Government officials.


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