Kenya to preside over UN Security Council next month

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Kenya is set to preside over the United Nations Security Council deliberations as the President in October.

The Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo said the will provide an opportunity for Kenya’s experiences, ethos and philosophy to stand the country in good stead in pursuing mutually beneficial outcomes.

In a session with journalists, Omamo said Kenya will continue to advance good neighbourliness and Pan Africanist ideals on the basis of its broad priority objectives of Regional Peace and Security, Peace Support Operations, Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism and Climate and Security.

Nairobi’s Presidency of the UN Security Council will be taking place at a critical juncture in the international arena when the world is ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlike the 1997-1998 term when Kenya last served at the Council, the nature and character of diplomatic actors has changed considerably.

An increasingly globalising and interconnecting world, coupled with advancements in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and increased migration among other factors, have birthed emerging security challenges such as terrorism and cybercrime.

“In addition, the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant disruptions, as well as increasingly divergent philosophical and political approaches to issues of global interests, particularly among the leading powers, call for skilful engagements to build bridges and galvanize consensus towards sustainable global peace,” said Omamo.

She said although President Uhuru Kenyatta will not be travelling to the New York for the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, he will convene an in-person Heads of State and Government Level Open Debate on peacebuilding and sustainable peace with the theme of 'Identity, State Building and the search for peace'.

The meeting is scheduled for October 12, 2021.

“In convening this High-Level Open Debate, Kenya will be inviting the Security Council to consider how the combination of the information revolution, globalization, urbanization, inequality, environmental stress and demography have arguably made identity the core determinant of conflicts,” she said.

Omamo further said these conflicts are underpinned by group-based grievances, which often fan deep-seated feelings of injustice and unfairness.

“This implies that a core imperative for effective peace and state-building is to successfully mediate important group dynamics and differences centred around such factors as colour, ethnicity, religion, history, social status among others, to reinforce the sense of broadly shared nationhood and belonging,” she said.

The CS reiterated that this high-level debate will provide a unique opportunity for deeper consideration of state-building and identity, and how they interact in the search for peace, with delegation encouraged to consider sharing their national experiences in the mediation of group grievance.

“Even as we look forward to presiding over the Security Council affairs in October, the ongoing global pandemic of the coronavirus has served to highlight the fragmentation within our societies, revealed and compounded existing inequalities, as well as unevenness of power in global governance,” she said.

She added, “This has also been compounded by skewed vaccine access and inequalities, climate change, challenges associated with unmitigated urbanization and the challenges associated with reluctance to offer debt relief to the most affected countries.”

Omamo said all these ultimately contribute and translates into social and economic inequality in the face of the current pandemic.

She said in addressing these issues, Kenya has and continues to proffer practical and solutions by working with our regional partner and with the larger international community in seeking to meet the challenges of our time.

The President has continued to demonstrate inspired leadership on these issues, not just is seeking order in our region and in the rest of the world but also in advocating for a just and equitable society,” said Omamo.