President Uhuru Kenyatta leaves for UN General Assembly summit in New York

Nairobi: President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday afternoon travelled to New York, US, to attend the 70th Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

On Friday September 25, President Kenyatta will attend a summit where the UN is expected to adopt the new post-2015 development agenda, enshrined in what are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“President Kenyatta will make sure Kenya’s voice is heard as the world adopts the new development agenda, completing a process which Kenya has actively participated in,” State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said.

While in New York, President Kenyatta will also co-chair or participate in high level meetings tackling gender inequality and empowering women; peace, security and counter-terrorism; enhancing investments in Kenya and the African continent; climate change; and trade.

With President Xi Jinping of China, President Kenyatta will co-chair a panel on women empowerment where Kenya is recognized as one of the leading successes in Africa.

“The President has repeatedly made it clear that gender equality is a national priority. His Government’s policy reflects that commitment ranging from setting aside funds for business run by female entrepreneurs to directing extra funding to health services that are likely to be used by women,” Mr. Esipisu said.

Later, President Kenyatta is expected to speak at a summit on UN peace operations that will be attended by several leaders led by US President Barack Obama. Kenya has long been a significant contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping operations.

The President is expected to hold other important bilateral meetings. In preparation for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which Kenya will be hosting in 2016, the President will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. At the meeting, President Kenyatta is expected to affirm joint plans for TICAD as well as follow up on other bilateral matters arising since his visit to Japan early this year.

President Kenyatta is also scheduled to meet United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss matters of interest to the UN and Kenya, including the question of refugees.

Mr. Esipisu said Kenya is honoured and proud of the important role it played in the post-2015 Development Agenda process. He pointed out that Kenya’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Amb. Macharia Kamau, co-chaired the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and co-facilitated the inter-governmental negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is already in New York, at the invitation of the UN Secretary General, to address maternal health, HIV and AIDs, and widening access to healthcare for the marginalized – a campaign the First Lady has successfully spearheaded through her ‘Beyond Zero’ initiative in Kenya.

The plane carrying President Kenyatta departed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly after 5.40pm.

He was seen off at the airport by Deputy President William Ruto and other senior Government officials.