With a seat on the powerful Security Council at the United Nations, Kenya could help bring focus to climate change, sustainable development and the region’s security.
“This government has been trying to do things that are exemplary to the world. Taking this leadership in the world is a very rare thing in the developing world,” principal secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs Macharia Kamau said in a press interview.
The UN Security Council has five permanent members (the US, the UK, France, China and Russia) and 10 non-permanent members who serve two years each in rotation.
Traditionally, the five permanent members call the shots on issues affecting world peace and security, and can veto a substantive decision of, say, authorizing the invasion of a country.
Two seats will be up for grabs for Africa when the General Assembly convenes in New York in September.
Non-permanent members use their election, done through secret ballot by member states, to increase prestige and gain a voice to speak on issues affecting their regions, even though they might not necessarily have a vote on substantive issues.
Kenya has been a non-permanent member before, in 1973 and 1997. On both occasions, its focus was on peaceful resolution of conflicts and it campaigned for the self-determination of countries seeking independence.
“We have shown that we are a very capable country to help countries create peace and stability for themselves,” Kamau said.
This time, the focus for Kenya is climate change and sustainable development – two key areas where the global powers have failed to take leadership.
“Kenya must not sit back and hope for the best,” Kamau declared. “Kenya should lobby the international community to urgently put mechanisms in place to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming which we are already experiencing.”
To win the vote, Kenya will have to garner a two-thirds majority. But the harder part could be influencing the council’s decisions.