Kenya is hoping to raise about $6 million to successfully host four international conferences and a regional event early next year.
They include the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi between February 28 and March 2 and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 50th anniversary celebrations ([email protected]) to be held at the agency’s headquarters in Gigiri between March 3 and March 4.
The country will also be co-hosting [email protected] celebrations together with Sweden between June 2 and June 3, an event that will commemorate the first UN Conference on the Human Environment (the 1972 Stockholm Conference) and raise awareness on the importance of protecting the planet.
Together with Portugal, it will also co-host the second UN Conference on Oceans, an event that is scheduled to take place between June 27 and July 1 in Lisbon.
On the regional front, Kenya will host the 9th edition of the Africities Summit which is scheduled for May 17 to May 21 in Kisumu. Governor Anyang’ Nyong'o will be leading the event themed "The role of Africa's intermediary cities in the implementation of the UN's Agenda 2030 and the African Union's Agenda 2063".
Largest democratic gathering
The Africities summit is the largest democratic gathering organised on the continent every three years to discuss the role of local authorities in the development and unity of Africa.
A year-long series of activities and events will be happening across the country under the [email protected] banner that will set the stage for a special session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) on February 28.
Then on March 3, [email protected] celebrations will kick off for the agency that opened its headquarters in Nairobi in 1972, setting the stage for coordinated worldwide efforts to protect the planet from environmental challenges.
Speaking while chairing a diplomatic corps meeting on the country’s preparedness to host the events, Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Macharia Kamau said the events, which are coming months after the conclusion of the COP 26 Conference on Climate change in Glasgow, are geared towards pushing for greater sustainability of the planet.
"There is no doubt that environmental issues are existential issues for humanity. On that, science is very clear and no region or country has been left untouched by the harsh realities of the effects of changes to the environment, mostly as a result of human activities," said the PS while underscoring the importance of the events.
Follow proceedings virtually
UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson said participants who will not be able to attend physically will be provided with the option of following the proceedings virtually.
“Our strongest desire is to see every nation represented at the UNEP headquarters in person but a virtual option will be available,” she said.
Temporary structures will be erected at the United Nations Campus in Gigiri where the event will be held so as to increase its capacity to accommodate more participants while ensuring Covid-19 protocols are observed.
Side events and exhibitions linked to the two conferences will be held off site to better manage the number of participants.
All delegates will be required to be fully vaccinated, keep their masks on, practice social distancing and sanitise their hands accordingly.
PS Macharia said the government is implementing testing, tracking and enhanced surveillance protocols with the possibility of quarantine and repeat testing for passengers traveling or transiting through the countries that have reported cases of the new Omicron variant that has been identified in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong.
“Our current realities in this era of the Covid 19 pandemic call for extra care and vigilance to ensure that delegates are safe and receive the necessary care in the event of any exposures. To this end, I wish to reaffirm that the government of Kenya has the requisite capacity to support the hosting of the two meetings,” he said.
Towards this, additional measures to be instituted during the conference include effective testing and monitoring of delegates upon arrival, daily during the period of the meetings, and for pre-departure protocols.
“We shall make use of new and available technology such as Chanjo and Jitenge to remotely report and monitor each delegate’s Covid-19 status,” he added.
Additionally, The National Public Health Emergency Operation Centre will remain fully activated to facilitate coordination of response to the pandemic with stand-by trained rapid response teams being on high alert to be deployed at national, county and sub-county levels to investigate and respond to cases.