STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. MACHARIA KAMAU AMBASSADOR/PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE FIRST REGULAR SESSION 2011 EXECUTIVE BOARD UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AND OF THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND
31st JANUARY 2011, NEW YORK
I take this opportunity to congratulate you and members of the bureau for being elected to lead the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board in 2010. I also thank the outgoing bureau for a job well done in 2009. I extend a hand of welcome to the new members of the Executive Board. I believe that they are a valuable addition to the work of UNDP and UNFPA and look forward to working with all the members during this and the coming sessions to enable UNDP/UNFPA respond to the myriad of challenges facing us.
As the world comes to terms with the devastating effects of unpredictable and vicious weather patterns, my delegation expresses its heartfelt sympathies to the government and the people of Australia and Brazil for the unprecedented floods that these two countries experienced. My delegation stands with them and would assist in any way it can in order to assuage their pain and suffering. We in Kenya, are facing a severe weather emergency, albeit on a smaller scale, that threatens to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of countrymen and women as the nation grapples with drought in the northern part of our country.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and joins the group in thanking Ms. Helen Clark not only for her presentation this morning but also for the manner that she continues to lead UNDP.
I would like to thank UNDP for holding numerous informal briefings in the run up to this session to provide information on the way forward. During these informal consultations, a lot of issues were clarified and information shared. I will, therefore, provide very brief comments on the matters that will be examined during this session.
The new evaluation policy is very important. It may be recalled that in 2005, the General Assembly called for a systematic evaluation of the United Nations operational activities by assessing the operational activities’ impact on poverty eradication, sustainable development and economic growth. It also emphasized the importance of national ownership and capacity development. It is with this background in mind that I would like to commend the evaluation and the work carried out by UNDP on its contribution to environmental management for poverty reduction and the strengthening of local governance.
As relates to the report on the evaluation of UNDP’s contribution at the regional level to development and corporate results, the conclusions are disconcerting. At the outset, I would like to appreciate the challenges faced by regional programming and budgeting, but in the same vein, I wish to add that my delegation finds it difficult to reconcile with the gaping holes identified in the report. As observed by the report, while there is an appreciation of the significant and longstanding contribution to development and promotion to cooperation amongst countries in the context of regional programming, very fundamental issues were raised. These issues hinge on fragmentation of regional programming, insufficient linkages with national programming, absence of a systematic framework for gauging demand and identifying opportunities and UNDP’s inability to adapt its own programming and partnership strategies to further facilitate developmental solutions across regions. These issues must be dealt with so that UNDP can fully carry out its mandate.
According to most estimates including United Nations reports, Sub-Saharan Africa will be the only region that will not be able to achieve many of the MDG targets by 2015. The task ahead of us is daunting yet we only have four years to accomplish this enormous feat. Currently, we are staring at defeat in our faces on some targets. Member states, development partners, UNDP and the entire UN system have an enormous responsibility on their shoulders. We all must work together to support countries to achieve these goals.
Mr. President, as is already on record over the past ten years our government has increased investment in areas related to MDGs by making significant increments over the years. Our country’s commitment to attaining the MDGs is real and verifiable. However, we fail to see the same level of commitment on the part of our partners. MDG 8, its targets and aspirations are far from being attained and this remains a cause for deep and ongoing concern.
At a time like this when the world is experiencing unprecedented turmoil in the economic and environmental sectors, there is a tendency to relegate developmental issues to the periphery. Attention is unduly shifted from the challenges facing developing countries, which need help now more than ever before, to addressing the crises in a global context. It is imperative that we fulfill our promises and collectively commit to the goals that we set for ourselves in order to avoid successful cases slipping back and wiping away the investments so far made.
My delegation is grateful to all those donors contributing to both regular and extra budgetary resources. The greatest challenge, however, is to ensure sustainability in the long term and further ensure that management costs are kept to a minimum and efficiently utilized so that more resources may be made available to programming activities and assisting programme countries to stand on their own.
The current discussions on joint programming activities and an integrated budget by the agencies by 2014 are important mechanisms to assess what and how much we are doing towards reaching these goals. In September 2010 the world’s leaders pledged to work even harder to achieve these goals. UNDP and UNFPA must take the lead in ensuring that the national efforts are supported in order to achieve the priorities. Kenya is doing its part by making investments and allocating huge portions of its budget and resources on education, health and infrastructure. These efforts need to be complemented and supported.
In conclusion, I would like to commend UNDP and UNFPA for their work in Kenya and look forward to continued partnership to fulfill their mandate and achieve the internationally agreed goals including the MDGs.