Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure Mr. President, to congratulate you on the
singular honour of your having been chosen for the Presidency of this
64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I would like to
assure you of my delegation's fullest support as you undertake your
momentous responsibility to unite member states in pursuing the
common goal of a more humane, secure, united and prosperous world.
There was a time recently when this elusive goal finally appeared within
reach, but multiple new challenges have coalesced to render the goal
even more distant.
It is therefore most encouraging, Mr. President, that the world is turning
to the United Nations to find a common, global path to resolving the most
intractable difficulties facing humanity. There is a clear recognition
emerging that together we can all rise; separately, we can only sink.
There was a time when the powerful disdained this institution's ability to
be a unifying player. This is now changing, and in this regard I would
like to commend the President of the United States, who holds a very
special place in the hearts of Africans, Kenyans in particular, for having
so eloquently on Wednesday indicated the centrality of the UN in
charting common solutions.
In order to better equip the United Nations for meeting these challenges,
Mr. President, we must continue to press for reform in the Organization.
The Security Council in particular must be enlarged and made more
democratic and representative of current day reality. Part of the
enlargement must include permanent, veto-bearing seats for Africa.
The world can no longer continue to marginalize a continent which is
home to nearly a billion people. This is wrong in principle but even more
it is wrong in practice. We cannot find sustainable solutions to our
challenges when such a large part of humanity is given so little voice and
role in that quest for peace.
The world is now acutely aware that the quest for peace begins with
ensuring the survival of the planet. I would therefore like to thank
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for having convened the high level
meeting on climate change, which has put this issue squarely onto the
world's centre stage. There is no issue that clearly unites the population
of the entire world as climate change does.
Regrettably, the far-sighted decision at the 2005 United Nations World
Summit to explore the possibility of a more coherent institutional
framework for International Environmental Governance (IED) has not
borne any fruit. This is particularly unacceptable now when climate
change is indeed the most pressing challenge of our times.
We therefore call for the upgrading of UNEP in Nairobi so that it can
become the central environmental institution handling the numerous
We have noted with regret the emergence of multiple centres dealing with
environmental issues. This dissipates their impact and sometimes even
leads to contradictory actions. The UN Office in Nairobi should now be
elevated to the same level UN offices in Geneva and Vienna to enable it to
provide comprehensive support to all member states and organizations
struggling to adjust to a new paradigm of a sustainable and dynamic
Without that, the lives of billions will be imperiled. Already, as the
Secretary General pointed out on Wednesday, another 100 million people
may fall below the poverty line this year from climate change setbacks.
Markets may be bouncing back but incomes and jobs are not. These
developments do not augur well for the future.
I regret to say that my own country is emblematic of the woes unleashed
by years of rampant excesses in the global and local mismanagement of
our environment. The melting of the famed ice caps of Mt. Kenya and
nearby Mt. Kilimanjaro, the destruction of vast swathes of our once
beautiful forests, the drying of fast-flowing rivers, the intensifying cycles
of drought and then the floods, the spread of Malaria to highland regions
as temperature rise — these are all consequences of human action within
and outside our borders. And so the solution also must also entail action
on both fronts.
The greater challenge for us, I am afraid, is the external one. We, like the
rest of Africa, produce only a tiny proportion of the emissions that are
rapidly warming the planet and wreaking havoc in our capacity to
produce adequate amounts of food and energy and husband sustainable
water supplies. Our economies are in disarray. We are victims of the
richer world's acts and omissions, and so we do need large amounts of
money in assistance and private sector investment to reverse the course
of events. The world must agree on concrete actions in Copenhagen.
But we in Kenya are not interested in playing the blame game or waiting
for international action to materialize. We have already begun to take
very tough political decisions to reverse the ravages. Our immediate goal
is to fully restore our largest water tower, the famed Mau, as well as the
other four towers, and are embarking on a huge reforestation drive to
plant seven billion trees which will recreate the carbon-taming "sinks"
that once made us self sufficient in food and energy.
We are also undertaking a crash programme designed to rapidly shift
energy production to green technologies using assets that we are
naturally rich in - wind and sun, but most important of all, geothermal
energy, which could more than double our current energy production
within four years.
For all of this, we are mobilizing local resources but we will need
significant assistance and investment to succeed in our goal of selfsufficiency
the green way. The rich nations have recognized that they
have a self interest in promoting such green commitments in developing
countries, but the mechanisms in place to support these need to be
refined and made more effective in quickly releasing resources.
We therefore support British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's proposal for
a $100 billion facility, and at the same time, urge the $20 billion pledged
for enhanced food production by the G8 be speedily mobilized and
Where we need assistance most immediately is for feeding the 10 million
Kenyans who are now living in hunger and could face starvation shortly.
Just last week, we declared this as a national disaster that would need
500 million dollars to rectify, out of which 250 million dollars would be
mobilized from our own resources and the other 250 million dollars we
are urgently appealing for from our donor partners.
Tens of thousands of livestock have died. This devastation is a result
primarily of climate change. We have had droughts before but they now
recur much more frequently and with greater severity. One drought year
is difficult enough, but the rains have now failed us for four consecutive
seasons. I appeal to our well wishers, which are many, to assist us in
this dire emergency.
To mitigate suffering, we have done a massive mobilization, including of
the military, in providing relief, and drilling boreholes and transporting
water to areas in acute need.
I am very proud to say, Mr. President, that despite the terrible postelection
violence and the subsequent multiple reverses which made
reconciliation and reconstruction so much harder, our people have
shown an extraordinary maturity and resilience in rising to their
unprecedented challenges. We were able to overcome the election
bitterness with an Accord we signed with the help of the African Union
and the Kofi Annan mediation, supported by the United Nations and
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who personally visited Kenya at the
height of the crisis. Thank you Mr. Secretary General.
Let me now turn to the one area where peace does not prevail and which
is a source of immense concern to the entire international community -
As its immediate neighbor, and with a large population of Kenyan
Somalis, no country has done more to assist Somalia in overcoming its
divisions and conflicts.
No one is keener therefore than we are to help defeat the forces of
extremism in Somalia, which have so much sway because of the help of
external elements. The continuing inflow of refugees, small arms and
light weapons is the major source of insecurity in our country.
The latest setback from this insecurity is disruption through piracy of
international trade in one of the busiest sea routes in the world. Despite
the risk it exposes us to, Kenya has offered facilities for detention and
prosecution of suspected pirates, as part of our international obligation
to promote peace. We have also offered to host a United Nationsorganized
conference in Kenya on how to coordinate and more effectively
deal with the scourge of piracy.
In return, we ask the international community to recognize our many
sacrifices and assist us in dealing with our major refugee and security
IGAD and the African Union has recommended to the UN Security
Council to impose a no fly zone and locate of airport and seaports held by
insurgents to prevent arm inflows. Kenya fully supports this position. It
is now incumbent upon the United Nations Security Council to take
decisive action to forestall further anarchy in Somalia.
To succeed in the quest for Somali peace, we must recognize that the
present focus primarily on the use of force has not seen any curbing of
extremism. Indeed, the security and humanitarian crises are worse than
We must therefore take a more comprehensive approach in tackling the
extremists, which includes encouraging the Transitional Federal
Government to more aggressively pursue its commitment to a much
more inclusive political process to bring into the government ALL forces
which eschew violence.
Such outreach to all moderates can only succeed with much greater
international support. It is regrettable that many pledges made at the
Brussels meeting have yet to be honoured. I call upon all those who
have not honoured their pledges to do so immediately.
Turning back to the global economic crisis, it is now recognized that one
of its principal causes is the weakness of the international financial
system. We should strengthen and promote effective multilateralism with
the United Nations at the center. We need to reform the international
financial governance institutions so that they can prevent crises and
develop more effective and equitable responses to them.
The ideals and principles of the United Nations are more than ever today
the surest hope for a more prosperous and equitable world.
Multilateralism in this globalized age is the only sure way to ensure that
peace, development and unity prevail at a time when the world is riven
with so many divisions.
We need a genuine partnership among all nations and peoples so that
everyone feels he or she is a critical stakeholder in national and
international decision making.
Within democratic nations, each person's vote is equal to the others,
regardless of their power or wealth. That is the principle that must finally
be applied to the workings of the entire international system.