- Kenya is seeking to win the non-permanent seat of UN’s most powerful body, for the 2021-2022 period.
- Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said the country will push for better support from the UN for regional efforts to combat global challenges such as terrorism.
- The bid comes as Nairobi admits that the world’s most powerful countries are slackening in their roles, looking inwards, leaving poorer nations such as those in Africa to face the challenges alone.
Kenya is promising to promote stronger adherence to global rules and shared responsibility as it launches its bid for the UN Security Council seat.
At the unveiling of the official campaign logo on Monday night, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said Kenya will push for better support from the UN for regional efforts to combat global challenges such as terrorism.
In a 10-point pledge, Dr Juma told an audience in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the country and its peers have willingly supported these types of programmes and will be seeking stronger cooperation between the UN and regional bodies.
“We have a deep conviction peace is a shared responsibility,” she told a gathering at the Sheraton Hotel.
“We will use our position at the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to build appropriate linkages for collaboration and harmonised action.”
Kenya is seeking to win the non-permanent seat of UN’s most powerful body, for the 2021-2022 period.
Non-permanent members may not have a vote on substantial matters, but they may hold rotational presidency, which gives a chance to push through agenda.
On Monday night, the country launched the official logo and campaigns in the city that hosts the African Union.
Dr Juma said the choice of Addis Ababa was because Kenya was endorsed by the African Union in a secret ballot in August, “making us the African candidate".
The launch in Addis may have been part of Kenya’s way of thanking AU member member who voted for Nairobi 37-13 against Djibouti.
In the audience were Kwesi Quartey, the Ghanaian diplomat and deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Mr Gedu Andargachew, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
Others included commissioners of the AU Commission including Smail Chergui, the Algerian diplomat in charge of Peace and Security, ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the AU.
Traditionally, an AU endorsement almost certainly guarantees the 55 votes for the candidate. But Kenya will have to win at least 129 votes at the UN when the vote is held next June.
“We understand fully that this endorsement is a responsibility that has been thrust on us in trust, by Africa ... that it calls on Kenya to serve and faithfully defend the interests of our motherland, Africa," the CS said.
“I convey the gratitude of my country and believe the final determination, reached on August 21, provides us now with a clear path that secures the solidarity and unity of our Union, and that will translate into ensuring that Kenya achieves the requisite global endorsement in June 2020.”
Kenya will now subsequently launch further campaigns in New York, the headquarters of the UN, as well as Nairobi in the coming weeks.
Later, diplomats abroad will be tasked with seeking votes “at every opportunity” as Nairobi seeks to minimise costs of the campaigns.
But Kenya's bid comes as Nairobi admits that the world’s most powerful countries are slackening in their roles, looking inwards, leaving poorer nations such as those in Africa to face the challenges alone.
She gave the example of terrorism, where Kenya and its peers have contributed troops for programmes such as the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), but which the UN has routinely refused to finance.
“We will also seek to have the Security Council provide African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorism operations with strong and clear mandates backed by sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial support,” she said.
Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi have sent troops to Amisom, which has the mandate from the UN Security Council.
But the UNSC, which finances peacekeeping non-combat missions, has previously declined to finance Amisom operations, only recompensing for equipment losses.
It fear this could set a precedent for financing combating missions.
Kenya says it will promote cooperation with the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council, African Union’s decision-making body on issues of peace and security on the continent, as well as regional integration bodies such as the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
The following are its pledges:
Building bridges: strong advocate for a reformed, strengthened and representative United Nations rooted at the centre of a rules based international system. Kenya will promote a culture of peace, tolerance and of respect for human dignity and aspirations.
Regional peace and security: Build appropriate linkages between UN and African bodies to help solve regional conflicts, or prevent them
Justice, human rights and democracy: Promote ideas that create useful environment for a just society
Peace keeping operations: Seek to have the UNSC provide clear mandate and financial support for peace keeping operations
Gender equality: Promote policies that will ensure women and men participate in conflict resolution programmes
Humanitarian action: Seek lasting solutions to challenges of forced migration
Climate change: Seek lasting solutions to security challenges caused by erratic climatic conditions
Youth empowerment: Promote actions that include youth participation in key programmes
Sustainable development: synergise UN SDGs for 2030 and AU’s Agenda 2063
Counter-terrorism: Promote regional and global cooperation against terror merchants