Kenya will in 2022 play host to three international conferences and co-host another two with other Nations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Amb Macharia Kamau has said.
Kamau said the conferences to be hosted by Kenya include the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) from 28th February- 2nd March in Nairobi, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP@50) from 3rd – 4th March in Nairobi and the 9th Edition of Africities Summit from 17th – 21st May in Kisumu.
Kamau, while addressing diplomats at a Nairobi hotel, said that the conferences to be co-hosted with other Nations include Stockholm +50 on the 2nd – 3rd June in Stockholm, Sweden and the 2ND UN Conference on Oceans on 27th June- 1st July in Lisbon Portugal.
“Our budget for these conferences is six million dollars which includes the Africities conference. Already we have raised about half of the required amount and the remaining is what we will be mobilizing in the next coming weeks,” said Kamau.
The PS highlighted that the key issues to be discussed in the conferences are on climate change and environment which are currently affecting humanity and no region or country has been left untouched by the harsh realities of the effects of changes to the environment, mostly as a result of human activities.
“Kenya will participate in the side events and activities on the margins of these meetings and proposes a tree planting exercise at Karura Forest available for the participation of all delegates during the course of the meetings,” said Kamau.
On handling of the Covid-19, the PS reaffirmed that the Government of Kenya has the requisite capacity to support the hosting of the two meetings saying that they have put in place extra care and vigilance to ensure that delegates are safe and receive the necessary care in the event of any exposures.
Dr Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy and Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President, said that Kenya is punching above its weight on climate based action on reforestation, green energy and pollution insisting that the country needs UNEP to provide the muscle and crowd in finance, innovation and scientific knowledge to take actions to sustainable scale.
Kagia said that Kenya is working on pathways with UNEP as a connector in urban centres in projects like the Nairobi river regeneration, public markets, slum upgrading, solid waste management, and greening in public spaces.
“Leadership on climate change in Kenya is close and personal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and it is something dear to his heart because he has seen what could happen if action is not taken now,” said Kagia.
“The world is facing a triple crisis that is climate, nature and pollution and the implication is that we need to reduce consumption but you cannot reduce consumption when there is none and as one of the speakers in Glasgow said, ‘you cannot adopt to starvation’. We will be looking up to UNEP for knowledge on how to address these issues through technology transfer and finance,” said Kagia.
Inger Andersen the under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UNEP headquartered in Nairobi commended Kenya for offering to host the UNEP headquarters as it was at the time a young nation, nine years after independence.
“Since its inception in 1972, the UNEP has been the global authority that sets the environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment,” said Andersen.
She said that the upcoming meetings are not just ‘explaining conferences’, but will be key milestones to push us towards greater sustainability in this one planet we know as home.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a