France supports elevation of Nairobi based UNEP
By PETER OPIYO
France has supported the elevation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi to a fully -fledged UN organization.
This statement came as France announced a commitment to avail some Sh88 billion (800 million Euros) to various projects on the area of climate change.
The areas to benefit include financing of Olkaria I and IV geothermal power plants, financing of waste management and capacity development at Geothermal Development Corporation.
In 2010, France availed Sh22 billion (200 million Euros) for a similar
Visiting French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, Ms Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, said there is need to strengthen UNEP so that it is equipped with enhanced capacity to deal with environmental issues.
In 2007 France was reported to be lobbying that Unep be moved to Europe, but the country later denied this.
Yon Wednesday, Ms Kosciusko-Morizet, who paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Raila Odinga, said there was ‘misunderstanding’ on the issue pointing out that Unep should be strengthened to that it has capacity to deal with environmental matters effectively.
"It would be really strange to say that Unep should be weakened, Unep should be strengthened. Unep is to stay in Nairobi…it would be a big mistake and wrong reason to move it," she said.
In 2009 Raila, while at a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in New York, called for the elevation of the body saying it is ‘stifled by duplication and scattering of roles.’
ON Wednesday, the PM said Kenya is working with France on areas of climate change particularly on the area of renewable energy.
"In our meeting (with Kosciusko-Morizet), we briefly reviewed the broad range of our cooperation in the area of climate change and renewable energy," said Raila.
Raila, who met the minister at his Office, said Kenya and France would cooperate in the negotiations of global environment governance.
"We are hopping this will lead to a decision of the international community to elevate Unep and establish a full-fledged global environment organization in Kenya," said the PM.
Calls for elevation of Unep come at a time the UN body is holding the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum.
Ms Kosciusko-Morizet is leading the French delegation at the Gigiri meeting.
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