On Friday, Kenya assumed the rotating chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council for the month of October.
Kenya, elected by the General Assembly in June 2020 as a non-permanent member of the Council for a two-year term, took over the presidency of Ireland’s 15-nation body alongside India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway.
At the top of the agenda are the issues of peace and security in the region, arms smuggling, Covid-19 vaccine inequality, ethnic identities, climate change and regional bloc relationships.
Kenya’s tenure comes at a time when concerns about the spread of vaccines around the world, where Africa is least considered.
Martin Kimani, Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said Thursday evening that presiding over the council was a huge responsibility, but assured that Kenya was up to the task.
Exclusive talk with KTN news Crossfire Show from New York, he said Kenya will conduct activities in a way that will lead to consensus and agreement among council members to resolve security issues that affect the world.
He said there are several countries in the region that are under the jurisdiction of the Security Council’s conflict resolution processes. These include South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“The majority of the conflict situations dealt with by the Security Council take place in Africa, and Kenya has made it a priority to protect the lives of Africans and to do as much as possible to ensure peace and security in Africa” said Kimani.
Kimani said Kenya would not use its position to advance its own national interests, although the admission of the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) to the United Nations peacekeeping mission was an ongoing debate in the Security Council.
âWe are driven by the interests of normal peace and security. Kenya’s operations are not only our immediate national security risks that matter most, but our goal is to ensure that the world understands that Kenya can be responsible, responsive, empathetic and effective in managing global affairs, âhe said.
On concerns about Covid-19, Kimani said African countries had come together and put their trust in the Covax facility, which should give all countries access to vaccines.
He said that although all counties are signatories, the richest countries have signed bilateral agreements with drug manufacturers.
âThat basically meant that this global facility was falling short. It also lacked the kind of contributions and pledges they had made but never kept to African countries that came together to build their own funding to buy the vaccines on the open market, âhe said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a press conference on Thursday evening that only nine African countries have achieved the goal of vaccinating 10 percent of their population against Covid-19 by the end of September.
Dr. Richard Mihigo, WHO program coordinator for vaccine development in Africa, said Thursday that only four percent of the African population are fully vaccinated. Kenya has vaccinated less than three percent of its population.
The countries preside over the Council for one month, rotating in alphabetical order according to the country’s English name. This is Kenya’s only presidency as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during its 2021-2022 term.
In the Security Council, the UN body that upholds world peace and security, President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead events to celebrate diversity, the impact of illegal small arms and light weapons on peacekeeping operations, and to better support and promote female peacekeepers and peace builders.