Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed wants the United Nations to implement a decision by heads of states to fully consolidate headquarters functions of its environment programmes in Nairobi.
The CS said the matter is not being treated with the seriousness it deserves saying the resolution to have the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is enshrined in the Rio declaration.
She spoke in New York where she represented President Kenyatta at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“This matter is of grave concern and continues not to receive the attention it deserves. The importance of having in Kenya, in the global south, cannot also be over-emphasised,” she said.
The minister also commended the UN for its resolve to strengthen Unep to respond to environmental challenges globally.
“We welcome the move to universal membership and the efforts to enhance financing and ability of Unep to fulfill its unique coordination mandate within the UN system,” she said.
Delivering President Kenyatta’s address, she said climate change was disrupting 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 percent of Gross Domestic Product. annually,” she said adding that the capacity of the planet to sustain life was threatened and developed countries need to extend financial, technological and capacity building support to enable developing countries transition to low-carbon development.
She also urged developed nations to meet their pledges to the Green Climate Fund, to help developing countries deal with adaptation issues.
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 such corporation effective.
“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.
Amb. Mohamed further said Kenya, together with UN, has established an SDG Partnership Platform that aims to accelerate the attainment of the development goals 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.”
She 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 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.”
UN Members States were also asked 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.
“We welcome the confidence that the UN membership has expressed in our country by locating UN-Habitat in Nairobi,” said Amb. Amina 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.