[Observance of Protocol]
Thank you very much for welcoming us into your Embassy – we understand the uniqueness of the circumstances under which we are having this event. On behalf of UNDP in Kenya, allow me to express our profound gratitude to the Government and people of Sweden for the continued partnership with UNDP.
UNDP and Government of Sweden have enjoyed a longstanding partnership which has enabled us to deliver development solutions wherever UNDP is present: Just over seven months ago, UNDP through our Head Quarters and the Government of Sweden entered into a US$40 million partnership that will enable UNDP support national development interventions through building national capacities and helping to advance integrated policies to better manage ecosystems and biodiversity, improve water and ocean governance, and scale up climate action. The investment made will also advance gender equality and women’s empowerment and support innovative finance solutions. In the era of COVID-19, we are reminded that mismanagement of our biodiversity will continue to expose humanity to zoonotic illnesses – this partnership could not have come at a better time.
Back home here in Kenya, we replicate this partnership as we have worked closely in our combined effort to address some of the country’s high priority development challenges. Over the years, the Government of Sweden, through Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has partnered with UNDP in implementing programme in supporting the national agenda to achieve an efficient devolved governance system, ridding the country of corruption, and building institutions to deepen democracy, promote environmental sustainability, strengthen peace building efforts, and promote social cohesion.
It is worth mentioning that Sweden remains one our largest development partners, and an investor in national programmes aimed at reducing inequality and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Today, we are gathered here to sign the financing agreement that will enable the Government of Sweden, through Sida, to contribute 45 million Swedish Krona (close to USD$5million) to the implementation of our programme “Transcending Foundations of Peace and Security for Inclusive and Sustainable Development”. This continuation of partnership with Sweden will allow us at UNDP to provide enhanced support to the Government of Kenya in tackling one of the complex challenges Kenya faces today – sustained peace and security.
This programme, to be implemented between 2020 and 2023 will enable UNDP provide support to Kenya in addressing underlying causes of conflict and division such as exclusion and marginalization, divisive political mobilization, small arms proliferation, disputes over natural resources, climate change, among others.
Through this programme, over the next three years, UNDP will deploy its expertise, skills and knowledge towards ensuring that policies and legal frameworks for peacebuilding, conflict prevention, addressing violent extremism and community security are strengthened; peace architecture at all levels are strengthened and effectively coordinated for purposes of promoting social cohesion, enhancing community security and sustained peace.
Allow me point out that UNDP will make it deliberate that the Youth, Women and other marginalized groups of this country are not just included but also represented as participants and beneficiaries of alternative livelihoods, peace and security processes at all levels through the implementation of this programme. We will also ensure that our activities will result in stronger partnerships at community levels as a measure towards preventing incidences of violence starting from the lowest levels possible.
We are confident that with the integration of the lessons learnt, best practices and evaluation recommendations from previous programmes, this intervention will go a long way in delivering transformative results for the people of Kenya. Its foundation in the human rights-based approach, gender equality, conflict sensitivity, environmental sustainability, climate change resilience, and poverty perspectives promises to further development results that speak to the needs of the most vulnerable segments of our society.
The programme is committed to innovation, including technology driven solutions to solve peace and security challenges; enhancing downstream work and ensuring interventions are targeted at beneficiaries and communities, Leaving No One Behind and reaching the furthest behind first, especially youth, women, persons with disabilities (PWDs), regions/counties that have historically been marginalized and are prone to conflicts. Further there will be synergies with other ongoing initiatives supported by various actors at national and county levels.
Let me state that UNDP has undertaken programme criticality assessments in close consultation with its partners, while monitoring the evolving situation, and prioritizing immediate needs and interventions in response to COVID-19 crisis in the country. We are therefore mindful of risks and have taken mitigation measures to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on peace and security are managed effectively.
Together with our partners, we are cognizant of the need for joint resource mobilization for this new programme; we will therefore explore and embrace innovative financing strategies and leverage on government cost-sharing, South-South and Triangular cooperation as part of our efforts to mobilize resources for this and others interventions in the country. Already, the Government of Kenya has committed Ksh.130,000,000 (approx. USD 1.22M) annually as counterpart funding through the supplementary budget. The programme is complemented by other related UNDP peacebuilding and governance programmes including the Government of Japan supported “Stabilization and Recovery of Communities affected by Violent Extremism, Conflict and Disasters in Kenya” and “Capacity Building for Maritime Disaster Management and Response to Peace and Security Threats within Kenya”, and the basket fund “Deepening Democracy Programme.” Partnerships are also being pursued with other actors and initiatives working on peace and security in the country.
Allow me to conclude by reaffirming UNDP’s commitment to this partnership and to ensuring that the investment the government and people of Sweden are making in advancing development yields transformative results. UNDP will continue to support Kenya’s efforts towards realizing long-term development through sustainable peace and strong and resilient communities.
Thank you for your attention.