NAIROBI, KENYA: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday and assured him the UN would support Kenya in the fight against terrorism.
The meeting between the two leaders followed the United Nations Environmental Assembly forum earlier in the week, attended by 112 ministers from across the globe who were among the 1,200 participants from 160 delegations in Gigiri.
The UN boss, who later visited the Nairobi National Park and adopted a lion, said they would support Kenya’s efforts against the global vice by boosting the capacity of the country’s security agencies.
“I have had a very fruitful discussion on major political and security issues concerning counter- terrorism in Somalia, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region,” the UN Secretary General said at State House, Nairobi.
He added: “We have exchanged views at length about how the UN and Kenya can work together in countering the heinous attacks against the people and the country.”
Uhuru said the presence of the UN in Kenya continues to grow, adding the UNAids had just started its global IT hub in Nairobi and the World Health Organisation located its global security unit in the country.
“These are only recent examples of UN agencies taking advantage of the IT and human resource advantages Nairobi offers. We intend to build on this and will work with the UN and its agencies to offer as much support as necessary to aid their work,” he said. He said Kenya would double the diplomatic police unit and work with the UN on its infrastructure improvement plans to ensure its experience and work in Kenya remains top class.
“The presence of the UN Secretary General in Nairobi is of great significance. This is not only because of the importance of United Nations Environment Programme, whose headquarters Kenya has hosted with pride since 1972, but also for the strong message it sends about the importance of the environment that is now taking its rightful place high on the global agenda,” added Uhuru.
Ban Ki-Moon commended Kenya for playing a leading role in the war against terrorism and environmental conservation.
“It is my hope that under President Kenyatta’s leadership, Kenya will enjoy prosperity, peace, harmony and security,” said the UN boss.
Noting that millions of tourists visit Kenya every year to marvel at its natural heritage, the UN Secretary General regretted that the country’s wildlife is under threat from poaching, illegal wildlife trafficking, and human-wildlife conflicts. He cautioned that wildlife crime is not a simple threat to animals but a major security impediment as it has links to organised crime and even insurgent groups.
“The same routes used to smuggle wildlife products and timber across countries are often used to traffic weapons, drugs and people,” he said.
On renewable energy, the UN boss said Kenya was moving faster than other countries and deserve to be emulated if the world is to achieve its target of reducing global temperatures by two degrees.
“Kenya is emerging a leader in renewable energy policies. It is also a long standing giant in the world of environmental conservation,” he said. Uhuru said it was timely that the UN Environment Assembly had adopted a landmark decision on stopping illegal trade in wildlife and that the Government had taken bold steps to end poaching. He said: “The world came here to take on the most pressing challenges to the future of mankind. We as a country are honoured to be the location for a conversation of such import.” He said the fact that this happened in Nairobi was the result of the boldness of vision that allowed Kenya to seek to host UNEP 43 years ago, making it then the first UN agency to be headquartered in Africa. Today it is part of four UN Headquarters – the only one in the Global South.