MR. PRESIDENT OF THIS 77TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
YOUR EXCELLENCY CSABA KÖRÖSI,
SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, YOUR EXCELLENCY
ANTONIO GUTERRES, EXCELLENCIES, DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES;
I am grateful for the immense privilege to join Your Excellencies in this distinguished
Assembly; a privilege made possible by a peaceful, democratic transition following free and
fair elections in Kenya on 9 th August, 2022.
Elections that not only stand as testimony of the universal power of democracy, but also of
the manifest ability of African peoples to invest in stronger nations and a secure future.
Robust constitutions, effective institutions, and the impartial administration of the rule of law
guarantees the achievement of shared aspirations.
This 77 th session of the UN General Assembly comes at a unique moment when the entire
world is struggling with multiple grave challenges that include regional conflicts, the Covid-
19 pandemic, the triple planetary crises, food insecurity and the rising cost of living.
I take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your election to preside over
this Session, and to express my confidence that your wealth of experience, offers us
significant assurance of your good leadership. Your motto: ”Solutions through Solidarity,
Sustainability and Science” succinctly captures with particular resonance the urgent
imperatives of our time. I assure you of Kenya’s firm support and cooperation during your
I further take this opportunity to commend your predecessor, His Excellency Abdulla
Shahid, for his bold steps in steering the United Nations community and for ensuring its
business continuity under the unprecedented circumstances occasioned by multiple global
threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Excellencies, Human well-being is under grave threat. The health of the planet requires
urgent attention. The immense pressure exerted by conventional threats such as climate
change, the global food crisis, terrorism, cybercrime and armed conflict has been
compounded by unprecedented devastating disruptions due to Covid-19. I express my
approval of the theme for this session, “A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions
to Interlocking Challenges” because it boldly signals the window of opportunity we now
have to escalate our engagement, from firm consensus to decisive action.
In many respects, the Covid-19 pandemic stripped us of many illusions and exposed stark
justice and solidarity deficits in the face of existential crisis. It brought into sharp focus the
global economy’s two-lane highway, repressively patrolled by a rising tide of exclusionist
nationalism. A specter that undermines prospects of collective action and significantly
impairs the resolve of the international community to guarantee fundamental rights, including
safety and dignity of the world’s vulnerable majority. It is for this reason that many nations,
especially from the Global South, now advocate for the democratization of global governance
and a re-imagined multilateralism that is inclusive and works for the good of all. Kenya
stands ready to work with other nations to achieve the pan-africanization of multilateralism
and a more just and inclusive system of global governance.
It is important to reflect on these matters as we do our best to get our people, enterprises, and
industries back on their feet so that the engine of development can power our societies
towards prosperity that actually leaves no one behind. Building Back Better is the universal
rallying call to incorporate lessons learnt into doing more, in a better way to recover from the
shock. I suggest that we have a golden opportunity to faithfully adhere to this motto by
augmenting it, in word and in deed, with an additional “B”: Building Back Better, from the
Building back better from the bottom upwards is, essentially, about including the
marginalized working majority in the economic mainstream. The bottom billion relentlessly
wage their daily battle for survival in a a crowded arena characterized by scarcity of
opportunity and generally precarious existence. The ingenuity, optimism, resilience and
energy in this ever bustling bottom is sometimes called hustling. Invisible to policy makers
and beyond the reach of many public services, these hustlers take nothing for granted,
surviving overwhelming odds, and frequently succeeding greatly. In the words of Abraham
Lincoln, “things may come to those who wait, but only things left behind by those who
hustle.” It is time to bolster the resilience of our nations; to mainstream these millions
through deliberate strategies and efforts for economic inclusion; by Building Back Better,
from the Bottom-Up.
The interlocking challenges of conflicts, triple planetary crises and the global food crisis have
impeded our momentum and obstructed our focus on achieving fundamental transformations
towards sustainable development. In the Horn of Africa region, severe drought and disruption
of supply chains, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have
left us food-insecure. Consequently, we have been constrained to repurpose our strategies to
prioritize drought and famine relief, insulating education from disruption and improving
social protection and healthcare systems to secure the well-being of our people.
Many countries now bear witness to the unsettling phenomena of rivers, canals and water
reservoirs that are drying up on account of droughts and heat waves occasioned by climate
change. Kenya is no exception. The northern, arid and semi-arid rangelands of our country
have been gravely impacted by drought, whose severity has not been experienced in 40 years.
3.1 million residents of these ASALs are now severely food-insecure on account of scarce
rainfall over three consecutive seasons, leading to poor crop and pasture. This unprecedented
confluence of intensely adverse events has exacerbated water scarcity and starvation,
worsened by rising food prices, thus complicating Kenya’s roadmap towards delivering good
quality of life to our citizens, and hindering the progress to achieving SDG 6 and SDG 2.
Severe drought has affected not only the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions, but continues
to devastate many others, including Asia, Europe and the Americas. If for no other reason,
the fact that we all are in this together, must strengthen the case for concerted efforts across
the continents. With this in mind, I call on Member States and all relevant stakeholders to
demonstrate strong political will and showcase effective cooperation by supporting the most
affected countries financially, as well as through sharing land restoration and climate
adaptation technologies. It is through collaborations to expand inclusion that we can attain a
new paradigm in multilateralism.
The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reminds us that
we cannot afford to waste another moment debating the merits of doing something vis-a-vis
doing nothing. It will soon be too late to reverse the course of events, and then, even the best
possible interventions will not suffice. As leaders, every day is an opportunity to expedite our
efforts to confront the triple planetary crisis.
It will be recalled that during the Stockholm+50 meeting, which Kenya had the honor of co-
hosting with Sweden, there was consensus from States on the need to act urgently in
addressing environmental impacts. Given this agreement, it is deeply concerning that little
progress has been made in respect of the needful actions. It is time to collectively
contemplate urgent measures needed to implement high-priority actions required to contain
ongoing disruptions, as we deliberate on long-term implementation approaches to be
undertaken. I fully agree with the Secretary-General’s memorable statement, that “we have a
rendezvous with a climate disaster”. I add that we must not be taken by surprise. If indeed
forewarned is forearmed, this is our opportunity to mobilize with tremendous urgency and
take action at once.
Excellencies, the agricultural sector has an important part to play in reducing the severity of
climate change. A number of practices have a bearing, positive or negative, on various
dimensions of the environment. Investing in modern agricultural technology is therefore one
important avenue towards tackling prevailing environmental challenges.
Kenya is responding through substantial investment in climate-resilient agriculture. At the
core of our 10-year strategy for Agricultural Sector Growth and Transformation are 9
flagships. They include the registration of farmers to direct incentives, improving farmer
practices through customized extension services, monitoring of emergency food reserve
stocks using a Digital Food Balance Sheet and the use of Early Warning Systems to monitor
food supplies and market prices.
Agriculture remains the bedrock of the development of many nations, and will thus continue
to hold the key to the creation of equitable and sustainable growth for our people. No
country, large or small, has ever attained significant growth without modernizing its
agricultural sector. And as we rededicate ourselves to these targets, we must, in the
immediate term, find answers to the severe deficit in the availability, flow and accessibility of
fertilizer to our farmers worldwide. I couldn’t agree more with Secretary General Guterres on
his warning right here yesterday, that “without action now, the global fertilizer shortage
will quickly morph into a global food shortage”.
We are encouraged to note that education, health, agriculture and numerous other public
services have become increasingly reliant on digital access. The world needs greater
investment in the development of ICT infrastructure, accompanied with policies that support
innovation and increased acquisition and deployment of technology. In so doing, we should
be driven by the conviction that these measures offer a viable shortcut to poverty reduction
and the promotion of inclusive development. I call for stronger global partnerships to
enhance ICT infrastructure in developing countries and bridge the yawning digital divide
between the global south and the rest of the world.
Excellencies, this 77 th session of the Assembly follows the commemoration of the 50 th
anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Program - [email protected] as well as
Stockholm+50 and the 4th United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon. Outcomes of
these conferences demanded real commitment to address global environmental concerns as a
matter of urgency, and for a just transition to sustainable economies that work for all people.
The March 2022 landmark resolution of the 5 th United Nations Environmental Assembly in
Nairobi to end plastic pollution is a decisive signal that the world is prepared and motivated
to act on this menace. Kenya is committed to work closely with other nations to pursue
legally binding instruments aimed at bringing an end to plastic pollution. As the host nation
to UNEP and the UN-HABITAT, Kenya affirms that these critical United Nations Agencies
have an indispensable role in the promotion of environmental sustainability globally, as well
as developing socially and environmentally sound and sustainable cities.
In keeping with its strong commitment to multilateral institutions, Kenya has made available
more land for the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) to facilitate the upgrading of its
complex. I take this opportunity to call on Member States to complement this contribution
through enhanced financing to adequately modernize the UNON facilities.
Kenya remains a strong advocate for making the sustainable use of Ocean and Blue
Economy resources a development priority, holding the firm belief that significantly
increased investment in this essential sector can end hunger, reduce poverty, create jobs and
spur economic growth. I urge the Secretary-General to continue calling attention to the urgent
need to develop this vital sector. In particular, I call on developed countries to invest in
sustainable fishing, protect marine ecosystems and share ocean-based climate solutions with
For our part, I am pleased to report that, building on the historic 2018 Sustainable Blue
Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya is reviewing its National Blue Economy Strategy
to strengthen community structures in participatory management of freshwater, coastal and
marine resources and ecosystems. The strategy is expected to contribute to our economic
development through food and nutrition security, coastal and rural development and income
increases along the aquaculture value chains, maritime transport and tourism. We invite
development partnerships to invest in Africa towards building capacity to sustainably utilize
marine resources. We must rally together to make the best use of Africa’s vast blue resources
in developing our economies while meeting our climate targets.
As we look forward to the 27 th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change - COP27, scheduled for Sharma-El-Sheikh in Egypt, it is
logical to expect that Member States will shift their attention towards the development and
implementation of frameworks for climate change mitigation. Accomplishment of pending
actions by Member States is essential for the implementation work that lies ahead. I
therefore call upon all of us to urgently deliver on all commitments made towards climate
financing. On this matter, it is critical to emphasize that we are running out of time.
Over the past decade, Kenya has sustained its aggressive pursuit of rapid socioeconomic
transformation through three principal roadmaps. First is the Kenya National Vision 2030;
the formal long-term blueprint aimed at transforming Kenya into a newly-industrializing,
upper-middle-income country providing high quality of life to all its citizen in a clean and
secure environment by 2030. The second has been the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and
the third, the Sustainable Development Goals. Kenya looks towards tapping into a variety
of resources to catalyze the achievement of these interlocking and mutually reinforcing
The disruption and ensuing crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic compelled us to diversify our
focus into new interventions, including an Economic Stimulus Program, a Covid-19
Economic Recovery Strategy and a Covid-19 Social Economic re-engineering Recovery
Strategy, all aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of the pandemic. I confirm that we have
done the best of everything we could in the circumstances. Nevertheless, it is not enough.
Kenya and the rest of Africa, like other developing countries, are in need of greater
international partnership and cooperation to avert economic crisis in the wake of the
Developing countries, being heavily burdened by external debt servicing, run the risk of
losing development gains due to the shocks inflicted by the pandemic and associated
disruptions. I call upon global financial institutions and the international community to take
urgent measures and release all existing financial instruments to provide much-needed
additional liquidity and secure better fiscal space for developing countries like Kenya, to
enhance social investment, support climate change adaptation and mitigation, address
security needs and resolve development financing challenges.
On behalf of Kenya, therefore, I join other leaders in calling upon the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and other multilateral lenders to extend pandemic-related
debt relief to the worst hit countries, especially those affected by the devastating combination
of conflict, climate change and covid-19. Furthermore, I urge the G20 to extend and expand
the scope of the common framework to suspend or reschedule debt repayments by middle-
income countries during the pandemic recovery period.
At this point, I would like this distinguished assembly to take a moment and consider the
peace and security landscape. A landscape currently beset with multiple challenges, yet
abounding with considerable opportunities. Our home region of Eastern and Horn of Africa
is, in particular, burdened by significant conflicts and changes with implications for the
region’s development. We stand on the cusp of vast opportunity for galvanizing confidence
building measures to generate and sustain momentum towards sustainable peace.
In its role as an anchor state in the region, Kenya has sustained our investment in diplomatic
efforts to find lasting peace in multiple situations within and beyond the region. Although
some processes have yielded undeniable successes, challenges remain. I therefore strongly
reiterate our call for partnership towards confidence-building measures and urge more
concerted efforts towards sustainable peace and stability.
Kenya is currently serving in the United Nations Security Council. I am proud to confirm that
our engagement over the last 2 years has prioritized Regional Peace and Security,
Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, Peace Support Operations, Climate and
Security as critical contributions to collective efforts to build a safer, more prosperous and
peaceful world. I am also proud to state that Kenya has continued to champion closer
cooperation between regional mechanisms and the Security Council as an effective means to
achieving international peace and security.
Kenya continues to advocate the renewal of the African Union security architecture which
draws comparative strength from the highly productive complementarity between the United
Nations, the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities. Working closely
with the two elected African Countries of the A3 in the UN Security Council, we are
committed to finding a stronger African voice in the Council, and achieving a consensus-
driven, rule-based multilateral system. It is our manifest intention to see greater Pan-
Africanization of the global agenda in order to make multilateralism work for the people of
the world in their diversity. It is time for multilateralism to reflect the voice of the farmers,
represent the hopes of villagers, champion the aspirations of pastoralists, defend the rights of
fisherfolk, express the dreams of traders, respect the wishes of workers and, indeed, protect
the welfare of all peoples of the Global South.
Let me express the strong collective conviction of my country that the relevance, legitimacy
and moral authority of the United Nations will forever remain deficient, undermined by the
absence of comprehensive reforms of the United Nations Security Council. We therefore
remain firmly committed to reforming the Security Council to make it a more effective,
representative and democratic global institution. Given the magnitude and variety of
challenges the world continues to confront, a more fit-for-purpose United Nations is urgently
needed; one that possesses the legitimacy and efficacy in dealing with threats to international
peace and security. A just and inclusive world order cannot be spearheaded by a United
Nations Security Council that persistently and unjustly fails the inclusivity criterion.
Similarly, threats to democracy will not be credibly resolved by an undemocratic and
unrepresentative Security Council. It is vitally important for this critical institution to reflect
the values it is entrusted to protect, defend and uphold on behalf of humankind.
We welcome the call by President Biden this morning for the expansion of the membership
of the Security council as a significant step in the right direction and we look forward to
building consensus for the actualization of the same.
The Covid-19 pandemic severely disrupted health systems, seriously challenging the
implementation of programs that are vital for the realization of health-related Sustainable
Development Goals. To place us firmly back on track, and accelerate our progress towards
these SDG targets, it is imperative for us to foster sustainable partnerships between
Governments, other state actors, the civil society and the private sector. This modality of
collective action is particularly vital for building resilient health systems, whose importance
in enabling us withstand future pandemics and other health crises can no longer be disputed.
For this reason, Kenya will continue to strongly support the development of a legally binding
World Health Organization international instrument to anchor global solidarity and
promote equity. The fact of the matter is that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed, for all the
world to see, the severe deficit of these critical values in our present multilateral
configuration. Global supply chains remained impervious to demand in the Global South
generally, and Africa in particular. Unequal access to vaccines underscored this unjust and
unequal situation with unforgettable clarity. Whenever human life, security and welfare is in
jeopardy, it is immoral to administer interventions through frameworks that are anchored on
We are all witnesses to admirable demonstrations of effective solidarity in response to crises
in various parts of the world. Our knowledge of the possibility of spontaneous yet resolute
global solidarity reinforces the African exception as particularly repugnant. From genocides
and civil conflict to famine and pandemics, the African continent is consistently left behind to
bear the brunt of weak solidarity and disastrous failure of multilateralism. History indicates
the last time that Africa was the focal point of strong and effective multilateral consensus was
during the Berlin Conferences of 1884-1885, and the character of the ensuing interventions
casts a long shadow to date.
Not to put too fine a point to it, the failure of multilateralism during crises which relegate the
people of Africa outside the circle of moral consideration, and normalizes humanitarian
neglect and other casual injustices are failures of humanity. Nothing about Africa or its
peoples makes it acceptable for this type of failure to persist in this era, and we have an
urgent moral duty to do better. And to right this wrong.
For decades, Africa has borne the brunt of three epidemics: the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. I applaud innovative partnerships like the
Global Fund for their progress in addressing the three menaces, and also welcome the
ambitious targets set for the 7 th replenishment cycle. Kenya is committed to supporting the
Global Fund and implementing the agreed targets in order to actualize our pledge at the
Kenya calls upon all countries implementing the Global Fund programs, especially fellow
African states, to remain at the forefront in championing for successful replenishment of the
fund. This way, the mobilization of much-needed resources is enhanced, bringing us closer
to the final elimination of these dangerous diseases.
In conclusion, Kenya joins the Secretary General in calling for the strengthening of
multilateralism as the only sustainable path to a peaceful, stable and prosperous world for all.
This is the imperative of our time, and the call of this moment. It is time to work on the trust
deficit with stronger conviction that none of us is really safe until all of us are safe.
The theme of the 77 th Session, “A Watershed moment: Transformative Solutions to
Interlocking Challenges” demands that we recognize the crises we must confront are inter-
linked in complicated ways. They can only be effectively addressed through more
imaginative strategies and innovative formulae. A population of 8 billion people, in a densely
networked world increasingly looks up to the multilateral system as the anchor for their
individual aspirations directly, and indirectly through robust national frameworks.
Increasingly, therefore, the United Nations system is expected to be responsive to these
needs, and for the proceedings in forums like this, to speak to ordinary people in far flung
reaches of our incredibly diverse globe. It is impossible to address all their individual needs
directly, but it is possible to respond to all of them by speaking withconviction to the
universal values of equality, inclusion, justice, solidarity and collective action, and by making
sure that all our interventions effectively reflect them with clarity.
The integrity of the international order must be measured by the distance separating our
resolutions, consensus and agreement from decisive actions, committed interventions and
effective solutions. A watershed moment, therefore, demands that we reduce that gap
drastically, and quickly.
Kenya pursues numerous essential domestic agenda through the multilateral framework. We
are heavily invested in the strength, effectiveness and eventual success of all interventions
formulated by the United Nations. It is important that the outputs of this and other similar
fora achieve immediate resonance in the minds and lives of our youth still seeking
opportunity to express and actualize themselves, our farmers working to feed nations, our jua
kali entrepreneurs striving in pursuit of success in the informal economy, and our
professionals who formulate policy, implement strategy and monitor service delivery in the
public and private sectors. Africa places immense value in the international community and
the tremendous possibilities it can unlock, through inclusive, sustainable and effective action,
to transform the lives of our peoples and establish lasting peace, security and shared
This watershed moment is our chance to turn the key and open this door of opportunity. We
can make progress in addressing the triple global threats, and liberate ourselves from the
shame of past failures of multilateralism. At this watershed moment, we must not only
choose, but also act decisively to bequeath to our children and their children a greener, safer,
healthier and more abundant Earth. Let us do it. TOGETHER. INCLUSIVELY.