|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN KENYA, 14-15 NOVEMBER
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, from Istanbul, Turkey, in the afternoon of Tuesday, 14 November. He would address the high-level segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference the following morning.
Immediately upon arrival, the Secretary-General went to State House, the seat of the presidency, where he met briefly with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
Following that meeting, the Secretary-General attended a ceremony, in which he received Kenya’s highest civilian honour, as he was made Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, an honour accompanied by a golden chain that he was given.
In impromptu remarks afterwards, the Secretary-General lauded Kenya’s relations with the United Nations, noting that two United Nations agencies -- the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) -- are based in the country. (See Press Release SG/SM/10737.)
Speaking about the responsibility of African leaders, he said: “African Presidents tend to be reticent in interfering in internal affairs of others. But these problems, these crises, whether it is in Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, they don’t remain internal for very long. It becomes, sooner or later, a problem for the whole region. It throws up refugees, guns move into the region destabilizing societies and so, as I leave, I hope the African leaders will see a problem of their neighbours as theirs and intervene sooner rather than later, intervene before it becomes a regional problem.”
He also said: “I hope when I am out of my current position that I will be able to work with some of the leaders to encourage agricultural productivity in our continent.”
On Wednesday morning, prior to addressing the Climate Change Conference, the Secretary-General, together with Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP; Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT; and Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), sang Happy Birthday to Kenyan President Kibaki, who had turned 75.
In his Climate Change statement, the Secretary-General spoke about the need for leadership and urgent action to deal with the problems posed by climate change, which he called “an all-encompassing threat”. (See press release SG/SM/10739.)
He said that, although some sceptics continue to deny that global warming is taking place, they should be seen as “out of step, out of arguments and out of time”.
In his speech, the Secretary-General announced the “Nairobi Framework” to help developing countries, especially in Africa, participate in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. That Mechanism permits industrialized countries that have emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries that reduce greenhouse gas emission.
The Secretary-General warned: “The question is not whether climate change is happening or not, but whether, in the face of this emergency, we ourselves can change fast enough.”
He then held a press conference and answered a number of questions on climate change-related issues, conflicts in Africa, specifically on Darfur, Somalia and his future after he steps down as Secretary-General.
He met with Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai and then attended a farewell town-hall meeting with United Nations staff in Nairobi before departing Wednesday afternoon for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
* *** *For information media • not an official record