BRUSSELS, Belgium, Jun 15 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday pushed for the strengthening of UN-Habitat at a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Brussels, Belgium ahead of the opening of the 10th Edition of the European Development Days forum.
President Kenyatta said it was important to the developing world, as it struggles to cope with the extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels attributable to climate change and that render many homeless, that UN-Habitat’s mandate be expanded and its resource base broadened.
“In order to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals agreed on during the last United Nations General Assembly, there is need to consider an expanded mandate for HABITAT that can accommodate Agenda 2030 on sustainable development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the new Urban Agenda.”
At the meeting with Ban, he made the case for UN-Habitat which is headquartered in Kenya, to go the way of the UN Environment Programme – also headquartered in Kenya – and attain universal membership.
“UN-HABITAT is not adequately resourced and there is need to have the regular budget of HABITAT increased as well as availability of adequate professionals to assist developing countries in particular, in capacity building and transfer of technology to fulfil the mandate of HABITAT.”
UN-Habitat as currently constituted is mandated to, “promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all,” a goal complicated by climate change which poses a great risk to the continued existence of pacific islands given rising sea levels and extreme weather events often result in internal displacement.
“The impact of climate change has hurt Africa’s development despite our very negligible contribution of emission of greenhouse gases,” President Kenyatta said in his keynote address during the10th edition of the European Development Days opening ceremony on Wednesday.
Climate Change according to UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner has already cost the continent billion in funds spent on mitigating the effects of climate change.
President Kenyatta and Ban were to also discuss the situation in Somalia but it remains yet unclear what the outcome of that conversation was.