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President William Ruto's Full Speech At The United Nations General Assembly

Joy Waweru | 1 week ago
President William Ruto's Full Speech At The United Nations General Assembly IMAGE :COURTESY
President William Ruto's Full Speech At The United Nations General Assembly IMAGE:COURTESY





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

developing countries.

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

fundamental inequality.

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

replenishment conference.

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.


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