From decisions to actions

HR-SGRThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is pleased to partner with Kenya Airways, the Pride of Africa, as the official carrier for the fourteenth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14)

Kenya is privileged, once again, to host UNCTAD  – held from 17-22 July 2016 in Nairobi at the prestigious Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). This comes forty years after successfully hosting the fourth UNCTAD Conference in Nairobi in 1976. UNCTAD 14 will attract more than 7000 participants from 194 member countries.

The hosting of UNCTAD 14 will build on the huge success of hosting the tenth WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2015. In July 2015, Kenya also hosted major events which included the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-opened by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Barack Obama of the USA. The country also hosted Pope Francis in November 2015 during his tour of East and Central Africa.

The theme of the UNCTAD 14 Conference will be ‘Translating the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development into Action’. The world, last year, made commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for development financing, which makes UNCTAD 14 particularly timely. The conference will therefore discuss the most appropriate means of delivering on the post-2015 development agenda, and will decide on UNCTAD’s programme of work for the next four years. The meeting will bring together Heads of State and Government Ministers and other prominent representatives of business, civil society and academia to tackle global trade and economic development issues. The Conference will include the World Leaders Summit and the World Investment Forum (WIF). The WIF is a high-level, biennial, multi-stakeholder gathering designed to facilitate dialogue and action on the world’s key emerging investment-related challenges. It provides an opportunity for Heads of State and Government Ministers to exchange views with business leaders on the vision for investment in the context of sustainable development.

UNCTAD will hold the seventh Global Commodities Forum (GCF), as an integral part of the conference. The theme of the seventh GCF is ‘Slowdown in emerging economies: implications for commodity-led development’. The 2016 GCF will discuss the current situation in emerging economies and look at the impact of the slowdown on commodity-dependent developing countries and on their commodity-led development strategies, reliant as they are on exports to emerging economies.

The plenary sessions of the Civil Society Forum will precede the official opening of UNCTAD 14 and will provide an opportunity for representatives of participating organisations to discuss and share their views on issues related to the Conference agenda, build consensus and finalise a Civil Society Declaration, which will be presented at the opening plenary of UNCTAD 14. To bring forward the views of their constituencies to the debate on delivering the post-2015 development agenda, representatives from civil society will contribute to the opening and closing plenaries of UNCTAD 14, as well as the round tables and thematic sessions.

The Youth Forum will discuss various topics that have been identified by youth worldwide, which are major issues of concern following a UN survey that was carried out in 2015. These are better education, more and better jobs and state accountability. The Forum is dedicated to students and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 30, who are interested in trade and development issues and want to debate with other millennials from all continents to contribute to shaping the world they want – the theme of the Youth Forum.

Kenya today
Kenya is a premier multilateral and diplomatic hub with representatives from around the world, in addition to being the only developing country to host one of the four global headquarters of the United Nations – the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNEP and HABITAT). Kenya is also host to several international agencies. This positioning and location in Africa is attracting and facilitating the successful hosting of international meetings, conferences and summits.

Kenya is also a transport hub for the region with excellent connectivity. Well-laid roads and many high-class hotels with conference facilities in Nairobi and other cities make Kenya the preferred destination for conferencing. The construction of Standard Gauge Railway is well under way and on schedule. It is not just a new track, but also the foundation for an efficient transport corridor that will further catalyse Kenya’s growth into 2030 and beyond. Kenya is also undertaking the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project, which has enormous transformative potential for Kenya and for East African regional integration.

Kenya is undergoing an energy revolution, driven by massive geothermal reserves and the recent oil discoveries in Kenya. The country is among the world’s most active regions for geothermal development and the 280MW Olkaria geothermal power plant is the world’s largest. Geothermal is now the largest source of electricity for Kenya with an installed steam power capacity standing at 579MW, ahead of giant economies such as Japan, Russia, China and Germany. This is part of Kenya’s accelerated green energy growth programme in line with sustainable development goals. According to World Bank estimates, geothermal power from this region at full utilisation will provide power to over 150 million homes.

Kenya is well known for leisure and safari. It is one of Africa’s, and the world’s, greatest wildlife watching destinations where you can easily spot the ‘Big Five’ in its reserves. The UNCTAD 14 Conference will be held during the annual wildebeest migration. It is one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles and nothing comes close to seeing, in person, the mass movement of animals in one of the great wonders of the natural world.

Protection of these wildlife assets is not debatable any longer in Kenya. This is the reason why Kenya is at the forefront of fighting poaching in order to conserve their wildlife species. As testament to this, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta together with other Heads of State and Government Ministers led by setting ablaze over 100 tonnes of poached ivory and rhino horn in a ceremony signalling Kenya’s commitment to ending the illegal wildlife trade.

Kenya is honoured to host the UNCTAD 14 Conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi, and looks forward to welcoming the world to Nairobi.