Effective multilateral action within a rule-based international system is key to overcoming global challenges including securing lasting peace and prosperity, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
President Kenyatta said the world can overcome complex challenges presently confronting it such as the COVID-19 health crisis and climate change through strong international cooperation.
“Kenya believes strongly that if we remain anchored in multilateralism and with the unity of purpose, we are much more agile in embracing change and positive transformations if we remain rooted in a rule-based international system and act innovatively and selflessly, we can transcend our challenges and secure lasting peace and prosperity for all,” he said.
The Head of State cited the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a model for multilateral action that captures the global aspirations of ending poverty, protecting the environment and ensuring prosperity for all.
“The challenges that confront us today only serve to underscore the need to reaffirm our commitment to the implementation of SDGs particularly with regard to fighting poverty and inequality; but also our shared responsibility to effectively contribute to this common vision,” President Kenyatta said.
The President’s message was conveyed in a recorded video statement delivered Wednesday evening during the virtual General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly currently underway.
While expressing the need to enhance global readiness to deal with increasing global crises, President Kenyatta said COVID-19 should give fresh impetus to collective efforts towards strengthening international cooperation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and other contemporary challenges including climate and biodiversity crisis, our growing geostrategic tensions, social as well as economic inequalities, the crisis of legitimacy and governance as well as the vulnerabilities of our digital world have, indeed, redefined the imperative for multilateral action,” he said.
The President said Kenya is implementing a proactive COVID-19 response strategy that covers revamping and expanding national and county healthcare systems.
He said Kenya has rolled out financial and tax interventions to safeguard the Kenyan economy and businesses from the negative impacts of the global health crisis.
At the continental level, President Kenyatta said Kenya is working closely with other members of the African Union Bureau in guiding collective response to COVID-19.
“We adopted a continental COVID-19 mitigation strategy which has had great success in coordinating continental efforts to prevent severe illness and death from Covid-19 as well as minimizing social and economic disruptions,” he said.
As President in Office of the 97-member Organization of African, Pacific and Caribbean States, President Kenyatta said he has become acutely aware of the global geopolitics and competition that are not focused on helping to better build a stronger, safer, healthier and more prosperous world.
In this regard, the President said it was important that even after addressing the acute phase of Covid-19 the world must remain collectively committed to global recovery.
While announcing that Kenya and Portugal will co-host the second UN Ocean Conference next year, President Kenyatta called for urgent collective global action to deal with the challenge of climate change.
“We must find a global balance between human beings and other creatures on our earth. We must put harmony between people and nature. Our world is yearning for us to stop its ruin,” the President said.
At the same time, the President lobbied for the expansion UNEP and the UN-HABITAT global offices in Nairobi saying the two agencies should be assisted to provide solutions to environmental and human settlement challenges.
The Head of State thanked UN member states for electing Kenya to the Security Council for 2021 to 2022 term, saying the overwhelming vote affirmed the trust and confidence the world has in Kenya.
“I wish to assure you that Kenya will deliver on our commitments to the Council under the mandate of the African Union. We will work closely with all member states to ensure that the Council discharges its mandate in an inclusive, responsive and consultative manner because peace is a collective effort,” President Kenyatta assured.
In their recorded video statements, Heads of State affirmed their commitment to global health, joint efforts in world economic recovery post-COVID-19, the war against terrorism and violent extremism as well as climate change among other issues of international importance.