Uhuru in UN talks on climate crisis

President Uhuru Kenyatta receives flowers from 11-year-old Emma Karani when he arrived in New York for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. [PSCU]
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday took part in high level talks to address global climate change.

Uhuru is attending the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, US, where leading scientists have released a report warning of a growing gap between agreed targets to tackle global warming and the actual reality.

The report compiled by the World Meteorological Organisation includes details on the state of the world’s climate showing that the average global temperature for 2015–2019 is on course to becoming the warmest of any equivalent period on record.

The report called for a sense of urgency to address a rapidly unfolding climate change crisis.

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Uhuru opened his engagements yesterday morning with a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The president met Mr Guterres before participating in climate change talks, and was scheduled to attend Universal Health Coverage (UHC) talks and adoption of political declaration on access to health by all.

He is also scheduled to hold talks and meetings on counter-terrorism, good governance and blue economy. 

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Around 170 global leaders are expected to attend the global event.

The action summit came against the backdrop of last week’s global ‘climate strike,’ which saw millions of students across the world take to the streets to demand action from politicians and  corporations to reverse the impacts of what Guterres has called a “climate emergency.” 

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Mr Guterres stressed on the need for leaders to come up with action plans to counter the crisis.

“We have to be responsible and not betray the future of human kind,” he said.

Foreign affairs

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said climate change is top on Uhuru’s agenda.

“Kenya will reaffirm its commitment to a global alliance at the event. This position comes at a time the global community is facing uncertainty on key issues such as climate change,” she said.

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She said the theme for the 74th session revolves around poverty eradication, quality education, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), climate change and inclusion.

Meanwhile, Kenya has partnered with a number of global firms to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ICT Cabinet Secretary (CS) Joe Mucheru who is also in New York for the UN event, signed the deal with three firms to set up an SDG accelerator lab in Kenya.

The CS, UN resident coordinator to Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee, executive director, Centre for Effective Global Action at the University of California, Berkeley Carson Christiano and Christine Heenan, senior vice president for global policy and advocacy, Rockefeller Foundation, signed the pact last weekend on the sidelines of the global summit.

Mucheru said the partnership will accelerate the implementation of  Kenya’s Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare for all.

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“We recognise that the 2030 agenda for SDGs is a global plan of action which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for all people and the planet, now and into the future,” said the CS.

The meeting was also attended by CSs Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Sicily Karuiki (Health), Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau and the permanent representative to the UN, Lazarus Amayo.

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President Uhuru KenyattaUnited Nations General AssemblyNew YorkWorld Meteorological OrganisationClimate change