NAIROBI, 1st October 2020 (PSCU) – Kenya’s implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that advocates for gender equality as well as empowerment of women and girls is firmly on track, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
In a recorded video statement, President Kenyatta said the Beijing Platform for Action remains a powerful source of inspiration in the advancement of the rights of women and girls.
“Gender equality remains central to the development agenda of my administration as is indeed enshrined in our Constitution of Kenya,” President Kenyatta added.
The President’s recorded video statement was delivered during a virtual high-level meeting at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 2020) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UNGA 2020 President Volkan Bozkir physically addressed the opening segment of the meeting before other world leaders including President Xi Jinping of China delivered their statements in a recorded video format.
President Kenyatta said Kenya has adopted a robust policy and legal frameworks to promote, enforce and monitor the realization of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
“Our national blue print for development, which we call our Vision 2030, outlines flagship projects for the promotion of gender equality, inclusive economic growth, prevention and response to gender Based violence, elimination of female genital mutilation and other harmful practices, gender Mainstreaming and the empowerment of the girl child,” he said.
With respect to economic empowerment, the Pesident said his administration has invested in women through a catalytic fund equivalent to over US 600 million dollars and over 3 million women have been trained on entrepreneurship skills and linked to large enterprises through market support and linkage programmes.
“We are also implementing a transformative social protection measure, through major cash transfer programmes with nationwide coverage, which today benefits over 500,000 vulnerable households,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also outlined the achievement made by the Government in support of women and girls in the areas of education, health and leadership.
The President pointed out that his administration is especially steadfast in its commitment to end Gender Based Violence and harmful cultural practices.
“I have, in this regard, committed to have our communities who practice FGM, as a culture to signify maturity and importance of girls, that there are other better ways of achieving these cultural goals,” the President said.
President Kenyatta added that Kenya’s interventions supporting the rights of women and girls are reinforced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the African Union Agenda 2063 that is focused on unleashing the potential of women and youth.
While noting that 2020 was supposed to be a pivotal year for accountability to delivering on the Beijing promises and in accelerating change, the President cautioned that the emergence COVID-19 threatens to reverse the gains made.
“I believe this is a wake-up call, a call to strengthen our resolve to move forward and to demonstrate our resilience by accepting the challenges that we are experiencing and see them rather as an opportunity to build back better and stronger,” he said.
To mitigate against the pandemic, the President said his administration adopted policy interventions facilitating economic relief packages and established a COVID-19 emergency fund to mobilize resources towards curbing the spread, the effect and impact of the virus.
“The Fund has continued to support implementation of targeted interventions in the country to cushion Kenyans and especially women from COVID-19 shocks,” he said.
United Nations Secretary General Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic, though catastrophic, it gives leaders an opportunity to adopt a transformative thinking that puts women at the centre of response and recovery.
On his part, Mr Bozkir, the President of the 75th Session of UNGA urged leaders not to view women empowerment as a threat but a key cog in achieving global development aspirations including peace and stability.