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Kenya takes stand for Paris climate accord at UN General Assembly

Amina delivering the country address at the 72nd UN General Assembly/COURTESY

NEW YORK, United States, Sep 23 – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has urged United Nations Member States to fully consolidate headquarters functions of UNEP in Nairobi.

“Kenya insists on the implementation of the decision by heads of state, now enshrined in the Rio Declaration, to consolidate headquarters functions of UNEP in Nairobi,” said Mohamed.

“This matter is of grave concern and continues not to receive the attention it deserves. The importance of having UNEP in Kenya, in the global South, cannot also be over-emphasised,” added the Cabinet Secretary.

At the same time, the Cabinet Secretary commended the UN for the measures that have been taken so far to strengthen and upgrade UNEP to enable it to respond to environmental challenges.

Said Mohamed: “We welcome the move to universal membership and the efforts to enhance the financing and ability of UNEP to fulfill its unique coordination mandate within the UN system.”

The Cabinet Secretary was speaking in New York where she represented President Uhuru Kenyatta at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Delivering the country position address at the UN headquarters in New York during the UN General debate, Mohamed said climate change is disrupting the livelihoods of millions of people and called for firm environmental conservation actions as outlined in the Paris climate agreement.

“Climate change costs Kenya’s economy approximately 3 per cent of its GDP annually,” said the CS.

Saying the capacity of the planet to sustain life was threatened, the CS urged developed countries to extend financial, technological and capacity building support to enable developing countries transition to low-carbon development.

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“We urge developed countries to meet their pledges to the Green Climate Fund, to help developing countries deal with adaptation issues,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

The Cabinet Secretary also called for strong partnerships toward the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) saying there is a lot of talk about partnership but not enough practical, on-the-ground support to make partnerships effective in practice.

“Governments and stakeholders should revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development, particularly through development co-operation and development financing,” said the CS.

The Cabinet Secretary said Kenya was committed to achieving the SDGs citing the provision of free maternal health care services across the country as the first step.

The Cabinet Secretary further said Kenya, together with the United Nations, has established an SDG Partnership Platform that aims to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs in the country.

“The Platform brings together the government, development partners, private sector, civil society and the UN. This Platform has created diverse SDG accelerator windows of which Primary Healthcare has been the first”.

Mohamed said Kenya targets to enhance health care services for women, children and adolescents across the country which will pave way for universal health coverage for all 46 million Kenyans by 2021.

The CS quoted President Uhuru Kenyatta saying: “I pledge to take the needed sustainable actions to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation and ensure their well-being; we hold ourselves accountable for our collective progress towards this goal.”

The Cabinet Secretary also called upon United Nations Members States to establish an Urban Assembly to replace the 58-member Governing Council at the UN-Habitat in order to better coordinate urban matters across the entire UN system.

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“We welcome the confidence that the UN membership has expressed in our country by locating UN-Habitat in Nairobi,” said Mohamed.

The Cabinet Secretary also addressed a wide range of other multilateral issues including the reform of the United Nations Security Council, global terrorism, peace and security, global counter trafficking in persons, prohibition of nuclear weapons and management of refugees and migrants.

The CS affirmed Kenya’s commitment to multilateralism saying Kenya was committed to working together with other members of the international community in tackling the challenges of the 21st Century.

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