Remarks delivered by Walid Badawi, UNDP Resident Representative Kenya

 

Amb. Monica Juma, DPhil, CBS - Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Hon. Ababu Namwamba, EGH - Chief Administrative Secretary

Amb. Galma M. Boru - Director Foreign Service Academy

Ambassadors, Distinguished participants and All protocols observed.

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), I take this opportunity to convey compliments from the Regional Bureau for Africa Director, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa and the County Office team.

Let me start by saying that I feel very much at home in settings such as this where I am in the presence of such an esteemed and distinguished gathering of representatives of the foreign service having been born into a family of diplomats myself. So, as I had briefly mentioned to both CS Juma and Ambassador Amolo, I have an inherent bias and deep personal appreciation of the criticality and centrality of the role of foreign service officials and diplomats like yourselves in shaping international agendas and representing national interests globally. In this regard, we recognize that this is not new to Kenya having seen the leadership role played by H.E. Ambassador Macharia Kamau in very ably steering the global consultations and consensus building around Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. Today again, we are seeing Kenya’s continued leadership role in its bid to occupy a non Permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

We recently saw Kenya successfully host the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where a number of heads of state and our  UNDP Administrator, Mr. Achim Steiner attended. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this achievement.  

We also fully recognize Kenya’s importance in the international system, as a host of two major UN global Headquarters of UNEP and HABITAT.

As UNDP we have engaged directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the strong partnership on joint strategic engagements such as the hosting of first ever Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) on the African continent, the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC), and the Blue Economy side event at the recent TICAD VII in Japan, among others. So we are intimately familiar with the quality of Kenya’s leadership on the international stage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Against this backdrop, we see that the role of a Foreign Service official is vastly changing requiring new knowledge and skills in economic, social, environmental and political fields in order to more effectively promote national interests on the global stage.  

As the world’s largest multilateral development organization, UNDP recognizes this crucial and changing role of the international diplomat and indeed has an interest in working with you in strengthening an international rules based multilateral system that advances the global development agenda for the benefit people around the world.

It is in this connection that UNDP Kenya has been providing institutional capacity support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for several years in a variety of areas. In the past, we have supported the Ministry’s Protocol Management System.

Currently we are supporting Kenya’s involvement in ‘Accelerating the Ratification and Domestication of African Union (AU) Treaties’ which seeks to address challenges and bottlenecks associated with ratification and domestication of treaties and monitoring of implementation. Through this initiative, 33 legal officers from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies were trained on the Law of Treaties and are now better equipped with knowledge and skills on ratification, domestication and implementation of AU treaties. UNDP in partnership with the Ministry will be supporting a sensitization forum of 67 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators on AU treaties to be held from 24-28 November 2019 in Mombasa.

Now coming closer to the purpose of today’s event, we are pleased to be supporting your engagement as the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collectively review and look at options of how the Foreign Service Academy can be strengthened to ensure future generations of Kenyan Foreign Service officials are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the increasingly complex terrain of international diplomacy and be the thought leaders in asserting Kenya’s national interests in economic, social, environmental and political domains on the global stage. This is an area of work that UNDP has undertaken in partnership with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in other parts of the world including in my own country Egypt, but also in Iraq and Myanmar, to name a few.

UNDP is therefore pleased to be making a modest contribution totalling USD 250,000 to this partnership to build capacity for effective formulation, management and articulation of Kenya’s foreign policy and provide career development pathways to Kenyan diplomats. This support has included the following:  

Hosting the inaugural meeting of the International Advisory Board of the FSA, that took place in May 2019 in Nairobi.

We also look forward to supporting Curriculum Benchmarking and Learning visits to Foreign Service Academies in India (New Delhi, Mumbai), South-Korea (Seoul) and USA (Washington D.C.) scheduled for 26th November to 12th December 2019. This will offer an opportunity to learn from other FSAs, guide structuring of a new curriculum and will be a valuable element of the FSA re-engineering process. We encourage consideration of at least one African country as part of these benchmarking visits, to tap into the continent’s rich capacities.

We also look forward to supporting a planned consultative meeting of Directors of Regional Diplomatic Academies from nine Foreign Service Academies, notably: Egypt, South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Algeria, Djibouti, Uganda, and DRC. This will further infuse ideas on the planned FSA curriculum development. This is planned for 16-17 December 2019 in Nairobi and we remain available to support in any way we can to ensure that this important event happens this year where resources under the project have been clearly earmarked for 2019 and cannot be rolled over. Let me underscore here the importance of this component of the programme as part of the resources provided by UNDP come from the regional programme for Africa and therefore demonstrating a regional South South exchange must be an integral part of this partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me once again to bring UNDP’s interest in supporting this initiative into sharper focus, Africa is the fastest growing and ‘youngest continent’ on our planet, with 25 percent of its population aged 15 - 24. It is therefore through efforts such as those promoted through the FSA that young minds, particularly of young women, can be shaped and nurtured to transform the continent.

Just this week in Addis, UNDP in partnership with the African Union launched the induction programme for the the first cohort of 20 participants in the AUC-UNDP African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme where over 6000 applicants from across Africa were considered. The initiative is a 5 year - programme that will catalyze a new generation of Young African Women Leaders and Experts to serve Africa and the world in designing and implementing development programmes in the context of the SDGs and Agenda 2063, moving beyond reaching women as mere beneficiaries to empowering women by expanding their agency, choices and capabilities thereby contributing to SDG 5. Here let me make a request that together we partner to identify at least one Kenyan sponsored woman leader to be part of the next cohort of the AUC-UNDP fellowship programme. Having just returned from Accra where we held our Regional Cluster meeting of Resident Representatives in Africa each RR was mandated by the RBA Director, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa to ensure that we deliver a candidate from each of our countries.

Relatedly, and from my personal experience as a former Junior Professional Officer (JPO), I have also discussed with CS Juma, the possibility of exploring the design and implementing a tailored JPO programme for Kenya. This is a further opportunity to strengthen young Kenyan capacity in the field of multilateral development cooperation and increasing the presence of Kenya’s nationals within UNDP and the UN System in general. Direct linkages between the JPO programme and the FSA would need to be forged to ensure alignment and embedding this talent within a wider strategy of multilateral engagement by Kenya.

CS Juma, Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNDP remains committed to this partnership with the Ministry, in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Country Programme Document (CPD): 2018-2022. Through the current CPD, UNDP is working through three pillars of Governance, Peace and Security; Inclusive Growth and Structural Transformation; as well as Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience to ensure that young people in this country can look forward to expanded opportunities and a brighter future. We are confident that the support to the FSA would be one crucial avenue to help us achieve our vision.

Thank you for your attention and wishing you every success.

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