Kenya Happy to Host UN Headquarters in Nairobi

Kenya is honoured and privileged to host the only UN Headquarter office in the developing world.

The United Nations General Assembly has agreed to allocate nearly US$ 70 million for the rehabilitation of the A-J Buildings at the UNON offices that were built in the 1970s which are now dilapidated and inadequate. This decision was partially arrived at after Kenya lobbied in the Fifth Committee, and by mobilising other developing countries to ensure that the UN Office in Nairobi’s image is upheld.

Kenya is grateful for this decision by the UN. The country is also open to discussions with the UN on how best it could facilitate the implementation of this important project. Kenya hopes that materials and expertise that are available locally will be sourced locally to support the local economy to fulfil this much-desired goal.

Host Country Issues

 Kenya is ready to continue working with UNON to address various host country issues raised by UNON and which the government is looking into. These include:

  1. Request for refund of the Railway Development Levy
  2. Request for refund of Fuel Tax levy

Global Services Delivery Model

Kenya hopes that ongoing reforms in the United Nations under what is referred to as the “Secretary General’s Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM)” will not lead to the downgrading of the UN office in Nairobi.

Kenya believes UNON is well placed to handle more UN responsibilities according to the criteria being considered in the Global Service Delivery Model which includes:

  • Host Country relations,
  • Development of infrastructure
  • Availability of medical and school facilities

Kenya expresses its readiness to engage the UN on this and other related issues.

UNEA Meetings in Nairobi

Kenya is proud of the three successful United Nations Environmental Assembly meetings – UNEA-1 (2014), UNEA-2 (2016) and UNEA-3 (2017). The country will continue to support UNEP to ensure it discharges its mandate efficiently and effectively.

Consolidation of Headquarter Functions in Nairobi

Kenya continues to call upon UNEP to work towards the consolidation of its headquarter functions in line with paragraph 88 of the outcome of the Rio+ 20. This paragraph called for the allocation of more resources to UNEP and progressive consolidation of its functions at the Nairobi office. Since then, more resources have been allocated to UNEP, however, its functions are still scattered all over the world.

Blue Economy Conference, 2018 and the Oceans 2020 Conference

Kenya will later this year host the Blue Economy Conference as well as the Ministerial Preparatory Meeting in 2019 for the Oceans 2020 Conference. This is in line with H.E. the President’s desire to fully exploit the Blue Economy as a means to ensuring stability and shared prosperity, not only in our region but also for the greater international community.

In this regard, Kenya welcomes the partnership of the UN family in making these two important conferences a success.

UN-HABITAT

Over the last few years, the agency has experienced fundamental challenges; both systemic and managerial. Questions of accountability and transparency within UN-Habitat have been a serious concern for the Member States.

Our assessment is that UN-Habitat must be strengthened and rapidly stabilised. To achieve this, the United Nations must provide additional, adequate and predictable financial resources from the UN regular budget.

What is needed today is a strong institution that can be financially supported to deliver on its core mandate. It is important that UN-Habitat remains the focal point for promoting sustainable urbanization and human settlements within the UN System as well as coordinate all relevant actors in this regard.

Kenya is fully aware that the ongoing reforms of the UN development system will impact on UN-Habitat work. While we support the reforms, we attach great importance to the central role the organization will play in delivering Sustainable Development Goal 11 (make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and the New Urban Agenda.  I believe the reforms should, therefore, focus on streamlining and strengthening the agency’s operations.

Kenya’s continued support to UN-Habitat seeks to ensure it is fit for purpose and is able to deliver quickly, efficiently and effectively on the ground.

REFUGEES (UNHCR) & MIGRANTS (IOM)

The question of refugees and migrants remains a key global issue which is at the top of the agenda for the United Nations in 2018.

The parallel process of the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations for the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, taking place in Geneva and New York, respectively, are in tandem with the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2016.

Kenya is actively engaged in both negotiations given the importance of the two issues to our Government and our unwavering commitment to addressing the refugee situation in the region, as well as to the promotion of the free movement of persons.

We have undertaken inter-governmental consultations under the National Committee of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the National Coordination Mechanism for Migration (NCM) to generate inputs for use during the two processes. While a ‘whole-of-society’ approach is encouraged; the Government takes the lead on these processes.

Burden and responsibility sharing remains of utmost importance in addressing the refugee situation, particularly, protracted ones. While there is now a push to embrace development approaches in addressing refugee situations, caution must be exercised to ensure that an undue load is not placed on refugee-hosting states.

Additionally, we note with concern the severe challenge that third country resettlement is facing due to the nationalistic policies of some governments. The reduction in funding to IOM, through the United States Resettlement Programme (USRAP) has led to the decline by 92 percent of the resettlement admissions from Kenya for the year 2018; from about 4,000 to a maximum capacity of 500. Plans are underway to close the IOM sub-office in Daadab by May 31, 2018 and subsequently release staff working in the office. IOM will also look for alternative and cost-effective options for its Transit Centre.

In order to avoid tension with the locals working at the sub-office, we need to work closely to ensure that the locals understand the larger context within which the offices will be closed.

The Government’s position on the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp is still in force. Kenya remains steadfast in advocating for the creation of conducive conditions within Somalia to ensure the sustainable voluntary repatriation of refugees, in safety and in dignity.

UN WOMEN

The Government appreciates the role UN Women is playing in partnership with the Council of Governors in the execution of the project on the Effective Implementation of Gender Functions at the County level.

The forthcoming Session of the Commission on the Status of Women meeting is due to take place in New York next month under the theme of the Session “Challenges and opportunities in achieving equality and empowerment of rural women and girls” resonates with the government’s focus on the big four priority areas on achieving affordable health care, food security and housing and manufacturing. These four priority areas will be easily achievable if rural women and girls are empowered.

OTHER MULTILATERAL ISSUES

UN Security Council

Kenya has presented its candidature for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2021-2022 at the elections to be held during the 74th Session of United Nations General Assembly to be held in June 2020 in New York.

Kenya recognises the critical role of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the maintenance of global peace and is actively engaged in global and regional efforts for the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolutions including through mediation in line with the principles and objectives of the United Nations. Kenya has served twice as a Non-Permanent member of the UNSC in 1973-1974 and 1997–1998.

Kenya believes that peace and security, development, and human rights are mutually reinforcing issues that need to be addressed comprehensively and concurrently. Kenya pledges to be a bridge and consensus builder between permanent and non-permanent members of the council and members of the African Union towards the achievement of the common goals of world peace, prosperity, and protection of human rights.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Kenya is seeking membership of ECOSOC for the term 2019-2021 at the elections to be held in June 2018 in New York.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

 Kenya is seeking re-election to the Council of ITU at the elections to be held during the Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates between 29th October and 16th November 2018.

ICT development in Kenya has evolved rapidly in recent years. Kenya has built a global reputation, both in ICT services and content, and has distinguished herself as a reliable partner in safeguarding digital transformation.

Lack of Synergy between UN Institutions and Regional Organisations

The ICGLR was established as the fulcrum for peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region. However, the office of the UN Envoy for the Great Lakes Region has increasingly played a duplicating role to the ICGLR thereby denying the Member States the ownership of the process of pacifying the Region.

Moreover, there is inadequate coordination between the office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the ICGLR Secretariat. This is possibly for the reason that the Special Envoy reports to the UN Secretary-General while the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR reports to the ICGLR Member States. Where the two institutions hold contrary views on sensitive issues, the UN Special Envoy reverts to the UN Security Council which is a bigger platform to amplify its views. A good example was the longstanding issue of the cooperation between the UN peacekeeping force in eastern DRC, MONUSCO, and the Armed Forces of DRC (FARDC) in fighting the FDLR rebel group.

While the ICGLR was eager to have a united front in the fight against the rebel group, the UN had withdrawn MONUSCO’s cooperation with DRC Armed Forces citing the appointment of army commanders who were alleged to have violated human rights. On the other hand, the ICGLR is at times unable to implement its decisions due to concerns surrounding respect for the sovereignty of Member States.

Interaction with Host Government

I reiterate the importance of adherence to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the government, Parliament and Counties. All communication and engagements including facilitation of visits to all government institutions must be conducted, coordinated and processed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To optimise our interaction, requests to visit Counties should be sent at least 10 days prior to the travel date to allow for time for effective coordination.

Statement presented by Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma to top officials of United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) on February 27, 2018