Kenya is promising to promote stronger adherence to the global rules and shared responsibility as it launches its bid for the UN Security Council seat.
During the unveiling of the official campaign logo on Monday night in Addis Ababa, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said Kenya will push for better support from the UN to aid regional efforts to combat global challenges like terrorism.
In a ten-point pledge, she said that while Kenya and other countries have willingly supported such programs, Nairobi will be seeking a stronger cooperation between the UN and regional bodies.
“We have a deep conviction peace is a shared responsibility,” Dr Juma told a gathering at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa.
“We will use our position at the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to build appropriate linkages for collaboration and harmonised action.”
Kenya is seeking to win the non-permanent seat of UN’s most powerful body, for the 2021-2022 period.
The launch in Addis may have been Kenya's way of thanking AU members who last month voted for Nairobi (37-13 votes against Djibouti).
Dr Juma said the choice of Addis was because Kenya had been endorsed by the African Union in a secret ballot last month, “making us the African candidate.”
In the audience were Kwesi Quartey, a Ghanaian diplomat and deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Gedu Andargachew, Ethiopia's Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Others included commissioners of the AU Commission including Smail Chergui, the Algerian diplomat in charge of Peace and Security, ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the AU.
Traditionally, an AU endorsement almost certainly guarantees the 55 votes for the candidate. But Kenya will have to win at least 129 votes at the UN when the vote is held next June.
“We understand fully that this endorsement is a responsibility that has been thrust on us in trust, by Africa. That it calls on Kenya to serve and faithfully defend the interests of our motherland, Africa.
“I convey the gratitude of my country and believe the final determination, reached on 21 August 2019, provides us now with a clear path that secures the solidarity and unity of our Union, and that will translate into ensuring that Kenya achieves the requisite global endorsement in June 2020.”
Kenya will subsequently launch further campaigns in New York, UN headquarters, as well as Nairobi in the coming weeks.
Later, diplomats abroad will be tasked with seeking votes “at every opportunity” as Nairobi seeks to minimize costs of the campaigns.
Non-permanent members may not have a vote on substantial matters, but they may hold rotational presidency, which gives a chance to push through agenda.
However, Nairobi's bid comes at a time when world’s most powerful countries are relaxing in their roles, leaving poorer nations to face the challenges alone.
Dr Juma gave the example of terrorism, where Kenya is a troop-contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), which the UN has routinely refused to finance.
“We will also seek to have the Security Council provide African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorism operations with strong and clear mandates backed by sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial support,” she added.
Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi have sent troops to Amisom, which has the mandate from the UN Security Council. But the UNSC, which finances peacekeeping non-combat missions, has previously declined to finance Amisom operations fearing it could set a precedent for financing combating missions.
Kenya says it will promote cooperation and working the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council—AU’s decision-making body on issues of peace and security on the continent—as well as regional blocs like the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
•Building bridges: Strong advocate for a reformed, strengthened and representative United Nations rooted at the centre of a rules based international system. Kenya will promote a culture of peace, tolerance and of respect for human dignity and aspirations.
•Regional peace and security: Build appropriate linkages between UN and African bodies to help solve regional conflicts, or prevent them.
•Justice, human rights and democracy: Promote ideas that create useful environment for a just society.
•Peace keeping operations: Seek to have the UNSC provide clear mandate and financial support for peace keeping operations.
•Gender equality: Promote policies that will ensure women and men participate in conflict resolution programmes.
•Humanitarian action: Seek lasting solutions to challenges of forced migration.
•Climate change: Seek lasting solutions to security challenges caused by erratic climatic conditions.
•Youth empowerment: Promote actions that include youth participation in key programmes.
•Sustainable development: synergise UN SDGs for 2030 and AU’s Agenda 2063.
•Counter-terrorism: Promote regional and global cooperation against terror merchants.