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Uhuru calls for rebuilding of the UN to better address emerging challenges

By Cyrus Ombati and Roselyne Obala | September 22nd 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta. [File Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the rebuilding of the United Nations (UN) system to better address global crises including the Covid-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted developing and emerging economies.

Kenyatta noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the global vulnerabilities of the United Nations.

“In this regard, now more than ever, we are called on to reflect on the words of the UN Charter that urge us to employ international machinery for economic and social advancement of all. It is, indeed, a call for meaningful international partnerships and multilateral cooperation to build back better together,” he said.

The President's message was contained in a pre-recorded video statement delivered Monday evening during the virtual high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) that also marked the opening session of this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA 2020).

Kenyatta said the anniversary provided an opportunity for the world to reflect and assess the role and relevance of the UN system especially its charter which speaks of a future that the world needs.

The high-level meeting under the theme “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism’ was chaired by Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir who is the President of this year’s UNGA.

Kenyatta urged Bretton Woods institutions and other multilateral lenders to be responsive to proposals of debt management especially from developing countries so as to create fiscal space that accommodates needed for the economies to survive the negative effects of the Covid-19 global health crisis.

All-inclusive union

The President pointed out that global challenges have unprecedentedly intensified, citing innovation and technology that have created great opportunities while at the same time unleashing challenges that would have been unimaginable to the visionaries who created the UN.

“Therefore, I believe it is incumbent upon us to rethink how we can build a better United Nations. But in order to Build Back Better, the United Nations system, we must ensure that it is closer to the people, more representative of the 21st Century and in line with the spirit of leaving no one behind.”

Kenyatta called for concerted efforts towards a UN system that is better financed and equipped to be more impactful to deal with humanitarian crises and be effective in the mitigation as well as elimination of civil and long protracted wars.

He said the world needs a multilateral system that directly targets poverty and inequalities as a global priority and pointed out that today’s world is more diverse and complex yet more interdependent.

“The juxtaposition must ignite our collective resolve to act now but more importantly to act decisively in solidarity so as to ensure that the United Nations serves well the needs of the world’s people, the people in whose name this great organization was established,” the President said.

In their pre-recorded statements, world leaders including President Xi Jinping of China and French President Emmanuel Macron echoed the need for stronger solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism.


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