President Uhuru Kenyatta has appealed to United Nations member States to support Kenya’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council during the elections slated for June next year.
The President, who thanked the African Union for endorsing Kenya’s candidature for the seat, said the country’s bid is motivated by a “pursuit for solutions to global challenges.”
President Kenyatta made the appeal when he addressed the General Debate of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York ON Wednesday where he said Kenya deserves a seat on the Security Council because of its leading role in regional peace and stability in Eastern Africa as well as the Horn Africa, in addition to its many years of contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations across the world.
“When the world had given up on our region, we opened our doors to millions of people fleeing insecurity. To this day, we host hundreds of thousands of refugees.
“Our investment in the Sudan negotiations led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. We continue to support stabilization efforts in both Sudan and South Sudan.
“When the world had turned away from Somalia, we engaged and invested in the Eldoret and Mbagathi peace processes that led to the formation and hosting of the Transitional National Government in Kenya, and formation of Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.
“We have contributed more than 40,000 peacekeepers and engaged in post conflict reconstruction and development efforts across the world.
“We, therefore, hope that our experience, competencies and unrelenting search for peace and prosperity in our neighbourhood, on the continent and the wider world, will persuade the entire UN Membership to support the African Union candidate, for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council during the elections slated for June 2020.
“I request for the vote of each and every member of the United Nations family,” President Kenyatta appealed to fellow Heads of State.
On sustainable development and world peace, the President said all countries have a collective and solemn duty to ensure the world is a better place for future generations.
“We must bequeath our children a politically stable, environmentally healthy and socially cohesive world. We, the leaders gathered in this great hall, are the bridge to that future world,” President Kenyatta said while cautioning fellow leaders against decisions that may destroy the world and jeopardize future generations.
“Our actions today will determine whether that future will be bleak: with depleted resources, higher poverty levels, and fragmented, warring nations. Or our actions today will bestow upon our children better living standards, prosperous, vibrant and cohesive societies, endowed with sustainably managed resources,” the President advised.
He said Kenya is rolling out several development programs that are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in sectors such as education, health and food security so as to guarantee a prosperous future for her people.
“In Kenya, we have invested heavily in education and health, in an effort to achieve social inclusion, develop knowledge and competencies, and secure the future by not leaving anyone behind.
“We have now achieved 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school, and free secondary school education for day scholars,” President Kenyatta said.
On health, the President noted that Kenya is on the path of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2022 through a health benefits package that prioritises primary health care interventions, reduce the cost of medicines and increase the number of people with medical insurance cover.
The President, who acknowledged that countries cannot achieve development without sustainable peace, reiterated Kenya’s commitment to continued pursuit of peace and stability in the Eastern and the Horn Africa region.
“The commitment to pursue peace and security remains at the core of Kenya’s Foreign Policy. I am pleased to say that combined efforts to advance peace and security in the region continue to bear fruits,” the President said.
He congratulated Sudan and South Sudan for committing to a path of sustainable peace and challenged Somalia to consider dialogue and negotiation as an option for resolving a maritime border dispute with Kenya that is currently before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
“In the same spirit, my administration continues to reach out to the Federal Republic of Somalia in an effort to find an amicable and sustainable solution to the maritime boundary dispute between us. In this regard, I welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council of 3rd September 2019 that urges both parties to engage.
“As we all know, the UN Charter privileges the use of negotiation as the most preferred mechanism for settlement of disputes. Similarly, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides for the delimitation of maritime boundaries between states amicably. It is this normative framework that informs Kenya’s call for the resolution of this dispute through negotiation,” President Kenyatta said.
The President also spoke about climate change and the need for nations to turn to sustainable resource management models that will help restore a balance in the ecosystem.
He called on countries to pursue development that will help reduce greenhouse emissions and slow down global warming saying the conflicts in the Horn of Africa are partly due to the effects of climate change.
The President said Kenya is proactively implementing programmes aimed at lowering its carbon emissions.
“We have banned the use of single-use plastics and intensified our national tree planting campaigns in order to restore our water catchment areas. We target to increase our forest cover from the current 7 percent to 15 percent by 2022.
“We are focused on development of clean energy. Today, Kenya is among the top ten global producers of geothermal electricity. Recently, we launched a 300 MW Wind Project, the single largest wind power project in Africa, and have several renewable energy generation projects in the pipeline,” he said.
The President applauded the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the reforms being undertaken at the global institution saying Kenya is keen on hosting the regional United Nations Global Service Delivery Model Centre (GSDM) in Nairobi.