Nairobi, 5 December 2018: Over 360 UN Volunteers recruited as the Blue Economy Champions were today feted for their exemplary support to the recently concluded Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya, Canada and Japan; and supported by several other sponsors including UNDP. The conference that has been touted as one of the most successful conferences on the Blue Economy, brought together about 18,000 delegates from 184 countries, who participated in over 300 events, supported by more than 200 speakers of global acclaim in the sector. It is expected that from the conference, more global discourses will veer towards how to make the utilization of water resources (Ocean, Rivers, Lakes, Seas etc.) sustainable, including creation of opportunities for young people, in the productive and conservation sectors of the Blue Economy.
The UN Volunteer programme is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. It is on this premise, ahead of the Blue Economy Conference, UNDP on behalf of the Government of Kenya, recruited about 360 volunteers from a pool of approximately 880 applicants mostly graduates drawn from local higher institutions of learning. The deployment of the UNVs as Blue Economy Champions in the various aspects of the conferencing, created an occasion for the young people to be involved in the important discussions as well as opportunities for learning. The Blue Economy Conference is an example of how UNDP invests in the spirit of volunteerism by providing opportunities for young people to utilise their knowledge and skills.
During the decommissioning ceremony of the volunteers, Amb. Simon Nabukhwesi, Director, Kenya Foreign Affairs Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, noted the importance of situating young people at the center of development conversations and actions. “It is not expected that you will be volunteering for the rest of your lives, but it is expected that you will transcend to take up key roles in advancing the development agenda and effectively contribute towards building resilient communities.” He said.
Addressing the Blue Economy Champions, Ms. Amanda Serumaga, the UNDP acting Resident Representative and Country Director, highlighted the indefatigable efforts and exemplary support provided by the volunteers. She further acknowledged that without their contribution, the conference would not have been as successful.
“As the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner notes, nurturing local volunteerism is a valuable way to bring unheard opinions, and know-how to the table. Therefore, today as we celebrate approximately one Billion volunteers and over 2,000 volunteers deployed by UNDP globally, I commend you, the Blue Economy Champions, for your efforts and contribution towards conversations that will enhance utilisation and conservation of our water resources, while strengthening the resilience of our communities.” said, Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP acting Resident Representative and County Director.
For more information contact:
Ngele Ali, Head of Communications, UNDP Kenya
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