Nairobi Thursday March 11, 2020
Big four Agenda gets a boost from the International Organizations
Six newly appointed heads of International Organizations based in Kenya today presented their letters of credence to the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb Raychelle Omamo.
The six officials included: Dr Medhin Tsehaiu, Country Director United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Ms. Anna Mutavati, Executive Director,UN Women; Amb Carla Mucavi, Food and Africultural Organziation for the United Nations (FAO); Amb Khalid Mohammed Al Kathiri, Head Of Mission of Mission, League of Arab States; Mohammed Omer Mukheir- Abuzen, Regional Director, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC); and Andrew Chimphondah, Head of Mission, Shelter Afrique.
The Cabinet Secretary welcomed the six officials to Kenya and assured them of support from the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Foreign affairs as they advance their work in Kenya.
The Cabinet Secretary said that the international organizations working in Kenya bring in a wealth of knowledge, resource and expertise which are key in driving and achieving President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big4 agenda. She urged them to continue working in partnership with the government to achieve their objectives.
Amb. Omamo said she is impressed that the organizations were involved with matters pertaining the big4 agenda which is very dear to the President of Kenya. On the issue of Health, she said she was grateful that the United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) main focus will be on mother to child transmission which is a key component of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“Our first lady is a keen participant in engaging in women healthcare and we are glad you can chip into this initiatives,” said Amb. Omamo.
UNAIDS Country Director Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu said their focus and commitment will be on ending mother to child transmission as she commended the government for ensuring that out of the 1.5 million Kenyans living with HIV/Aids, about 77 percent are receiving the lifesaving Antiretroviral (ARV) medication.
Speaking while receiving the UN women representative to Kenya Amb Omamo informed her of our membership to the UNSC and our role during the two- year term. “We now seat at the United Nations Security Council where the agenda of women, peace and security is critical and we are already working with the UN Women in advancing this agenda because they are supporting our national action plan.”
The CS highlighted that during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been an upsurge of challenges facing women including gender based violence and the UN women has been a key partner in addressing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages among others.
UN Women Executive Director Ms. Anna Mutavati said her organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of Women is working towards positioning gender equality as a fundamental ingredient to national development and achievement of the sustainable development goals.
“I am pleased to have been posted to Kenya and I will endeavor to champion women empowerment by working to contribute to the government’s efforts to advance gender equality, implement the women peace and security agenda in the country and to contribute to Kenya’s achievement of a just and inclusive society,” said Mutavati.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative to Kenya Amb. Carla Mucavi said that they have laid plans and strategies to work with the Kenya government in the attainment of 100 percent food and nutrition security as proclaimed in the presidents’ big4 agenda.
“We are cognizant of the challenges including Covid-19, desert locusts, climate change, economic downturns among other adversities but we are convinced that working in partnership with relevant stakeholders we will be able to surmount those challenges,” she said.
She added that FAO will continue offering technical support and expertise to the Kenyan government in efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition and ensure the attainment of food security and healthy diet for the entire Kenyan population.
Amb. Omamo on her part said that FAO has been a critical partner in designing policies that are pushing the food security program which is a key component of the big4 agenda.
“Food and nutrition are critical for the advancement of women in our country because women are the main players in agriculture sector, fetching water for the family, in the market place and they are deeply entrenched in the food security paradigm,” said Amb. Omamo.
League of Arab States head of mission Ambassador Designate Dr. Khalid Mohammed Ali al Kathiri said that the Arab League is keen to establish a resident Mission presence in the Republic of Kenya, with the view of strengthening the existing relations between the Arab world and Kenya in various fields, as well as aspects of the Arab-African partnership based on the important position that Kenya occupies in the African continent, within the African Union and Internationally.
Cabinet Secretary noted our historical relationship with the Arab league as the first trading partners in the coast of East Africa.
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa Mohammed Mukhier said that Kenya and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement have a long history of cooperation.
“We share a strong commitment to the ideals of development, including the vision of communities where there is universal health coverage, affordable housing and food security—among others. We work to enable healthy and safe communities, reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen resilience and foster a culture of peace. Like your Government, we believe that peace and unity are among the key pillars of a progressive society,” said Mukhier.
He said that the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has played a central role in the governance of the IFRC and the former Secretary General of the KRCS, Dr. Abbas Gullet, served as the immediate former Vice President of the IFRC. He is currently a member of The Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the permanent statutory body of the Movement and its highest deliberative body.
Amb. Omamo said one of Kenya’s key priorities as it sits as the UN Security council is the advancement of humanitarian actions and ensuring that Nairobi which has become the hub for humanitarian action plays its role in advancing the affairs of the organizations involved in humanitarian work.
Shelter Afrique Head of Mission Andrew Chimphondah said that the organization was set up in 1982 by 44 African governments, the Africa Development Bank (ADB) and the Africa Re-insurance cooperation to mobilize financial and technical resources for affordable housing and infrastructure development in Africa.
“Our operations are carried out from our headquarters based in Nairobi and I am grateful for the government of Kenya for their continued support and I will work to deepen the relationship with Kenya both as a member state and as a major shareholder,” said Chimphondah.
“I join in the commitment of the Kenyan government in providing affordable housing for their citizens and their belief in support for multi-lateral approaches to aid in resolving the common African challenges,” said Chimphondah.
Amb. Omamo said that Kenya is driving the agenda of affordable housing and the support from Shelter Afrique is very critical not only on the financing of affordable housing but also on building integrated cities.
“We need cities that are able to integrate the rich and the poor so that they can be able to provide services to everyone to produce the new African cities. One thing that the Covid-19 has taught us is that we need to pay attention to our cities because rural to urban migration is on the rise and urban settlements are challenged when we are confronted with crises such as Covid-19 and social distancing becomes a problem and sanitation facilities need to be up scaled,” said Amb. Omamo.