I am delighted to welcome His Excellency Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, to Kenya. Mr. Guterres has served as Prime Minister of Portugal; in his younger days, he was a strong campaigner for democracy.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Secretary General in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January. He showed himself willing to listen to Kenya’s point of view, and that of Africa too. We are pleased to have a man of experience and vision at the helm of the United Nations, and I am sure that this initial official visit to Kenya will further deepen the partnership between Kenya and the United Nations.
On this first visit to Kenya, I am pleased that the UN Secretary General began with a visit to Dadaab, home to an estimated four hundred thousand refugees.
Our policy has been clear for some time. The events that led to the establishment of Daadab are a terrible tragedy. The best response to that tragedy is to help the refugees to return and rebuild their nation. That is Kenya’s policy, and our efforts to hasten the repatriation and resettlement of the refugees continue. As always, those efforts remain guided by the relevant domestic and international laws and agreements.
Indeed, on the 25 March, we will host an Extra-Ordinary Summit, bringing together IGAD Heads of State and Government, as well as friends and partners of the region, to discuss durable solutions to the plight of Somali refugees. Kenya will host this Heads of State Summit in Nairobi, on 25th March, 2017. I hope Your Excellency will find the time to join in discussion, and to seek a lasting answer to this critical problem. For our part, I think the conference shows that Kenya is willing to consult, and ready to listen to the views those who wish Somalia and the region well.
Let me say that the Secretary General is one of them. He was quick to assure that the international community would work with us to help Somalia refugees settle in Somalia, and rebuild their country.
I was also very encouraged by the support the Secretary General gave in the matter of the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM)
We believe that if it is strengthened appropriately, then we will end the threat posed by Al-Shabaab to Somalia and the region.
The fact of the matter is that the Secretary General’s passion for multi-lateral work matches our own enthusiasm for collaborative answers to the problems and challenges that still trouble our region and our continent.
A clear sign of that commitment is the Secretary-General’s reaffirmation of the vital place of UNEP, HABITAT and UNON as key institutions hosted in the global South. These institutions have important work to do: there is a Paris Climate Agreement we need to work on. There are the Sustainable Development Goals, and the new Urban Agenda Agreement.
There is serious work to be done by these institutions – work which touches everyone on earth. That’s why we are so glad that the Secretary General has reaffirmed their importance – and, indeed, agreed that the financial and management challenges affecting Habitat in particular, will be addressed within the new framework.
Equally, the Government of Kenya and the United Nations in Kenya are working within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which has become a strategic tool to achieve the SDGs.
I have presided over the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Annual Review for two consecutive years. I am happy to note that this is strong evidence of partnership established between the UN country team and my administration.
I am encouraged that the UN family in Kenya is working on systems and strategic ways to help us realize the SDGs. For example,
a) In supporting Kenya’s roadmap for SDG localization and adapting the newly signed 2-year joint work plans on SDGs.
b) UN technical assistance to County Governments and assisting them in revising their County Integrated Development Plans and several other initiative including UN health coverage which I am confident will be further deepened and enhanced within Kenya.
Secretary General, as I close I want to thank you for supporting my Government in addressing the drought situation in Kenya, which has been declared a National Drought Emergency. The UN together with the Red Cross and other partners are working hand in hand to respond to the drought situation.
I thank you.