BY HON. MAJOR (RTD) MARSDEN H. MADOKA, EGH
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY 57TH ORDINARY SESSION
14 September 2002, New York
Allow me to extend to you, Mr. President, on behalf of my delegation, sincere congratulations on your election as the President of the 57th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
I wish also to thank the out-going President, Mr. Han Seung-Soo, whose tenure of office coincided with one of the most trying periods in modem history following the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. We appreciate the excellent manner in which he handled the 56th Session of the General Assembly. May I commend the efforts, courage and vision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, who has continued to be a beacon of strength and hope. We salute you! In addition, we also wish to welcome Switzerland to the United Nations and look forward to the admission of East Timor.
Coming from a continent plagued with many obstacles, we believe that the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly accords us yet another opportunity to critically revisit the promises enumerated in the Millennium Declaration and to take stock of progress so far. Two years down the line we should give an account of our commitment to the declaration. In many instances, I am afraid, we shall be found wanting. We have not lived up to our promises and as a result, many in the world are more desperate today than they were two years ago. They had placed their hope in our vision, our sincerity, our commitment and our sense of urgency and purpose.
Various United Nations Conferences and Meetings have been held since the 1990's to address the challenges confronting developing countries. It is therefore, regrettable that there has been insufficient political will to implement the decisions arising thereof. Meager resources have been committed to debt reduction, improving market access, human resource development and tackling of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases.
The current global financial framework has demonstrated its inadequacy in dealing with the problems facing developing countries. The decline in Official Development Assistance flows and Foreign Direct Investment are issues of concern. Despite efforts made to achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development, the conditions in the international arena have not been adequately supportive. For a start, my delegation calls for greater emphasis to be placed on concessionary lending and greater use of grants.
Moreover, global trade arrangements have tended to benefit
industrialized countries. Africa's present share of global trade is less than
2%. While industrialized countries continue to provide substantial subsidies
for their' agricultural sector, developing countries have been forced to cease
similar support. This, combined with tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,
has meant that our products stand no chance in competing with the products from
the North. We must therefore, build on the momentum achieved at Doha as well
as encourage initiatives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),
and the European Union/ACP Trade Arrangements, to enable our countries take
advantage of the opportunities in international trade.
Many developing countries including Kenya, are experiencing net outflow of resources mainly due to debt service obligations. As a result, there are less resources targeted towards basic social services, thus compounding the poverty situation. We, therefore, call for an overhaul of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) eligibility criteria so that countries facing high levels of poverty and debt burdens qualify for debt relief.
The launching of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development have rekindled great hopes in the African continent. These initiatives have made it clear that the primary responsibility for the development of Africa lies in the hands of the Africans themselves. The decision by the United Nations General Assembly to hold a High-Level Plenary Meeting on NEPAD on September 16, 2002 is in recognition of the importance of this initiative which places emphasis on the twin principles of ownership and partnership.
Kenya calls for genuine partnership in the implementation of resolutions, commitments
and especially the Millennium Development Goals, the Monterrey Consensus and the Outcome of the just concluded World Summit
on Sustainable Development.
The Special Session of the General Assembly on Children held in May, 2002, provided the international community with an opportunity to renew its commitment to the adoption of the rights-based approach to programmes and activities of children. The Government of Kenya has made continued efforts to improve the welfare of children. Kenya has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and signed the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children; Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Kenya has also ratified instruments prohibiting the involvement of children in armed conflict. A Comprehensive Children's Statute was enacted in parliament and became operational on March 1, 2002. Kenya also has in place an Early Childhood Development Policy safeguarding children from birth until the age of six.
My delegation notes with concern that the reduction in funding to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by a major contributor will impact negatively on on-going programmes in many developing countries. The UNFPA continues to play a critical role in assisting the most vulnerable in society namely, women and adolescents. It is our hope that voluntary contributions to the Organization will be restored to the former level and further increased as a matter of urgency.
With regard to the UN Centre in Nairobi, my delegation welcomes the improvement in the level of utilization of the conference facilities. We encourage the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure that all meetings and activities on environment and human settlement related matters are held at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) so as to utilize the excellent facilities there and to further strengthen the role of the Organization in all matters charged to it in conformity with the Headquarters Rule.
My delegation would like to commend the 56th Session of the General Assembly for elevating the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the Commission on Human Settlements to a fully-fledged programme now known as UN-Habitat and Governing Council of UN-Habitat, respectively. We have no doubt that the upgrading will facilitate better implementation of the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on cities and other human settlements within the new Millennium.
The Secretary-General's Programme Budget for the Biennium 2002-2003 shows that the activities undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN-Habitat continue to depend heavily on extra budgetary resources. This has severely constrained the ability of both Organizations to play their roles effectively due to unpredictable financial resource base and under provision.
We urge the Secretary-General to ensure stability and predictability in funding UNEP and UN-Habitat through the United Nations Regular Budget.
My delegation would like to congratulate the newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr. Sergio Vieira De Mello. We would like to assure him of our full co-operation and we look forward to working closely with him. At the same time, we would like to pay tribute to the out-going High Commissioner, H.E. Mrs. Mary Robinson, for her able leadership. Kenya wishes to underscore the importance of treating human rights issues in a balanced manner. This very Assembly has consistently re-affirmed and I quote, that all human rights are indivisible, inter-dependent and inter-related and that the international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis".
There is a genuine concern that too much emphasis has been given to political rights at the expense of economic and social rights such as the right to development. These are vital issues which the international community can no longer afford to take lightly as it endeavours to eliminate hunger and poverty and ensure a just standard of living for all people.
Kenya holds the view that the United Nations General Assembly should play a leading role in spearheading development initiatives as envisaged in the Charter. We welcome the progress already made in the re-organization and revitalization of the General Assembly. This organ should now reclaim its leadership role in focusing and shaping debate on issues of global interest.
On issues of world security, Kenya has a long record of participation in Peace-keeping Operations. Today, she is the sixth largest troop contributor to United Nations Peace-keeping Operations, in different parts of the world. We are particularly happy to be associated with the success of the United Nations Peace-keeping Operations in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Greater emphasis should be put on the deployment of adequate force levels to missions in Africa.
Africa is a continent ravaged by conflicts and instability. However, the progress recently made in the resolution of some of these conflicts is very encouraging. In particular, the signing of a Protocol between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Machakos, Kenya on July 20, 2002 was a welcome development. Other positive developments towards lasting peace in Africa include, the signing of the Agreemen between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Rwanda; the holding of peaceful elections in Sierra Leone after years of a bitter civil war and continuing efforts towards reconciliation of the warring factions in Somalia. We also welcome the recent positive developments in Angola. Kenya will continue with its mediation efforts in the region and in the continent as a whole.
On the important question of Reform of the Security Council, Kenya calls for the speedy conclusion of negotiations aimed at equitable representation and increase in Membership in the Security Council. With the establishment of the Peace and Security Council as an important organ of the new African Union, Africa must now play its rightful role in matters of international peace and security. It is time Africa was accorded the elevated status it deserves in the Security Council.
Kenya believes in the Rule of Law and will support all genuine efforts to this end. We subscribe to peaceful settlement of disputes through regional efforts, the International Tribunals and the International Court of Justice.
Kenya fully supports the historic milestone of the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998 and the entry into force of the same on July 1, 2002. Impunity for serious crimes of war is indeed a denial of justice which must be brought to an end.
In the year 2001, we witnessed the most devastating form of international terrorism in the multiple terrorist attacks of September 11th. As a country that had faced a similar attack in 1998, Kenya strongly believes that terrorism can never be justified under any circumstances.
We fully support the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373 and have already ratified the twelve (12) Anti-Terrorism Conventions. The process of domesticating them is already underway.
In conclusion, Mr. President, Kenya looks forward to greater commitment to build a secure and more prosperous world for all. The destiny of mankind is inextricably intertwined in spite of national boundaries. Events in the global arena have clearly demonstrated that the effects of ignorance, poverty, disease and insecurity in one region or another country can impact negatively on the well-being of the rest of the world. Let us get together and build a world where all can live in peace and prosperity.