Mr. Ruto warned that rising nationalism undermines collective action and the ability of the international community to guarantee fundamental rights. He argued that, as a consequence, countries in the Global South are calling for global governance to be more democratic and inclusive as they try to get their economies back on track.
Rebuilding better, from below
Referring to the oft-heard phrase “Rebuild better than it was,” Mr. Ruto added a new clause calling for the global economic recovery to come from the bottom up, by bringing the marginalized working majority into the economic mainstream.
“The bottom billion,” he said, “wrestle in their daily struggle for survival in a crowded arena characterized by scarcity of opportunity and a generally precarious existence.”
He went on to praise “hustlers” who survive against enormous odds and called for action to make them popular.
Response to drought and famine
Speaking about the climate crisis, Mr. Ruto noted that droughts and heat waves in Kenya, on a scale not seen in decades, have forced the country to focus more on hunger relief, support for education, social protection and health systems. . According to him, 3.1 million people in the country are experiencing food insecurity due to water shortages and rising food prices.
Mr. Ruto recalled that the Stockholm+50 meeting, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the first UN conference on the human environment in 1972, was organized by Kenya.
The President of Kenya noted that at this international meeting, the states reached a consensus on the need for urgent action to eliminate the impact on the environment, but “little progress was made regarding the necessary actions.”
Kenya, he said, is responding to the climate emergency by investing in climate-resilient agriculture as part of a 10-year agricultural sector growth strategy that “will continue to hold the key to creating equitable and sustainable growth.” “for the Kenyan people.
This sector, like others, including education and health, is increasingly dependent on access to digital technologies and, in the words of Mr. Ruto, offers “a real path to reduce poverty and promote inclusive development.”
The President called for a stronger global partnership to improve ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure in developing countries to bridge the digital divide between the Global South and the rest of the world.
Continued commitment to UN agencies
Kenya is the host country of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat), and Mr Ruto affirmed the “indispensable role” that agencies play in promoting environmental sustainability around the world and in developing socially and environmentally friendly and sustainable cities.
Mr. Ruto announced that his Government had allocated more land for the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), to facilitate the modernization of its complex.
The president said the ocean and the blue economy remain a priority for Kenya’s development as he believes a significant increase in investment can end hunger, reduce poverty, create jobs and spur economic growth.
He reported that Kenya was reviewing its National Blue Economy Strategy to strengthen community structures – in the joint management of freshwater, coastal and marine resources and ecosystems – and invited development partnerships to invest in Africa to build capacity for the sustainable use of marine resources.
Working on a national vision for the future
According to Mr. Ruto, over the past decade, Kenya has implemented its National Vision 2030, a plan to transform the country into a “new industrialized upper-middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and safe environment by 2030” .
COVID-19 The pandemic has forced the government, he said, to intervene in the economy in new ways, such as the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Program, the Covid-19 Economic Recovery Strategy and the Covid-19 Socio-Economic Restructuring Recovery Strategy, all of which aim to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic.
Mr. Ruto further noted that support from the international community would be required, without which Kenya risks losing its development gains. He asked for more liquidity and better “fiscal space” so that Kenya can increase social investment, support climate change adaptation and mitigation, meet security needs and solve development finance challenges.
In addition, the President joined other leaders in calling on multilateral creditors to extend pandemic-related debt relief to the hardest-hit counties, especially those hit by the devastating combination of conflict, climate change and COVID-19. He also urged the G20 group of leading economies to suspend or reschedule debt repayments by middle-income countries during the recovery from the pandemic.
“Reform of the Security Council”
Acting as the leader of a country that is a non-permanent member Security AdvisorMr. Ruto stated that Kenya continued to advocate closer cooperation between regional arrangements and the Security Council as an effective means of achieving international peace and security.
“We are looking to find a stronger African voice in the Council,” he said, “and create a consensus-based, rules-based multilateral system.”
However, he also noted that the Security Council needs to be reformed to make it more democratic: “given the scale and variety of challenges that the world continues to face, a more purposeful United Nations is urgently needed, with legitimacy and effectiveness in combating threats to international peace and security” .
Mr. Ruto further lamented the failure of multilateralism with regard to Africa, noting that the last time Africa was the center of a strong and effective multilateral consensus was during the Berlin Conferences of 1884-1885. [which led to imperial European powers effectively divided up much of Africa between them].
“We have an urgent moral obligation to do better,” he continued, “and correct this mistake.”
Nevertheless, the President has come to the conclusion that strengthening multilateralism is the only sustainable path to peace, stability and prosperity for all.
“This is the imperative of our time,” he declared, “and the call of the present moment. It’s time to work on the trust deficit with a stronger conviction that none of us is safe until we are all safe.”