KENYA MAKES A CASE FOR MULTILATERALISM IN WHITE HOUSE TELECONFERENCE CALL WITH PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Martin KIMANI was part of a virtual visit to the White House by the Permanent Representatives of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, 18th March 2021. He conveyed appreciation from His Excellency President Uhuru KENYATTA to President Joe BIDEN for the strong Kenya-US relationship reflected in their recent communication on pursuing mutual interests in peace and security, and trade and development. Also in attendance were Mr. John KERRY, the Presidential Special Envoy for Climate, and Mr. Jon FINER, the Principal Deputy National Security Advisor.

Amb. Martin Kimani

Reflecting Kenya’s leadership on environmental protection and sustainability, Ambassador Kimani called for tangible progress in preparing the world to respond adequately to climate change. He observed that Kenya, and Africa in general, need increased investment, job creation, trade and development to play its rightful role in the global response to climate change.

He gave a nod to the Free Trade Agreement that Kenya is currently negotiating with the US as the kind of paradigm-shifting initiative that will allow it to successfully cope with the threats of climate change while ensuring the improvement of living standards and economic opportunity.

Kenya’s Permanent Representative welcomed the Biden administration’s energised engagement in the Horn of Africa region. He decried the increasing volatility of politics regionally as reflecting winner-take-all exclusionary politics that are becoming a detriment to regional peace and security.

In the context of the destructive political conflicts that bring countries to the attention of the Security Council, Ambassador Kimani observed that Kenya is acutely aware of the tough compromises required to resolve political conflict and to build an inclusive and stable democratic society. He argued that Kenya’s experience, particularly as recently reflected in the Building Bridges Initiative, is an example of successful resolution of political division that President Kenyatta is championing in the continent.

Ambassador Kimani completed his remarks with an appeal for the United Nations, requesting President Biden to invest in reenergising the organisation to better serve its vital functions after its years of decline. This position furthered President Kenyatta’s continued championing of multilateralism and his recognition of the need for an effective and ambitious United Nations if it is to succeed. 

As has since been reported on the meeting by the US government, President Biden in his remarks to the visiting UN Security Council reaffirmed America’s commitment to multilateralism and international institutions.

Kenya is an elected member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022 period. Kenya’s four broad key priorities are, improving regional peace and security through better global-regional linkage and innovation; sustaining and expanding global action against the threat of terrorism and violent extremism; deploying better mandated and enabled peace support operations; and, building and actioning a global consensus on the link between climate and security.

Kenya takes a Pan-Africanist approach in pursuing these objectives, and is a champion for Africa, the Small Island Developing States, and the Global South. It chairs the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, and is also the informal link between the Security Council and the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission.