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Kenya's proposal for UNEP upgrade supported by China

China has given its support to Kenya's bid to upgrade the United Nation's Environmental Programme (UNEP) to organisation status at the upcoming Rio+20 World Environment conference
 Kenyan VP Musyoka meets with Chinese VP Xi
 
 

The declaration was made on behalf of the Chinese President Hu Jintao by Vice-President Jinping Xi, after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki sent a letter requesting the country’s support.

At a meeting yesterday between Xi and Kenyan Vice-President, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, who delivered the letter whilst visiting the country, Xi said:

“We understand and appreciate the importance that Kenya and the developing world attaches to the presence of UNEP in Nairobi and therefore we will stand with you and only hope that other stakeholders will take a similar position.”

Headquartered in Nairobi, President Kibaki has repeatedly voiced Kenya’s wish to upgrade the UNEP from a programme to that of an organisation in order to better tackle the world’s emerging environmental challenges. It is hoped that the upgrade to an internationally-recognised agency would ensure a greater global membership and provide a stronger enforcement of environmental agreements. By becoming an independent organisation, not only would the the stable platform necessary to effectively and powerfully bring about environmental changes be provided, but future funding would become easier to secure and increase.

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Discussing the importance of the UNEP in a recent interview with Kenyan newspaper, The Star, UNEP spokesman, Nick Nuttal, commented:

“(It) has three pillars: social, environment and economic. If you economy is simply about generating increased economy activity without creating jobs, and creating more economic degradation, then it is not sustainable development. If one protects the environment and there are no jobs, it’s still not sustainable. It is a way of generating a development path that gives people jobs that will grow the economy and not destroy the environment.”

Nuttal concluded:

“Kenya is a good example of a country that has set a sustainable path. (The) government has put in small policies that encourage renewable energy in Turkana, geo-thermal in Naivasha and wind turbines in Ngong. It may however by hard for the ordinary Kenyan caught in a traffic jam or caught in endless cycles of droughts to imagine that this is a pioneering country in green economy”

 

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