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Climate Change: Kenya’s President To Rally African Leaders At 77th UNGA

Kenyan President, William Ruto will use his first visit to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to rally African leaders to speak on the consequences of climate change.

Climate change is expected to have the greatest impact on Africa.

Dr. Ruto arrived in New York on Tuesday afternoon for the 77th United Nations General Assembly. He will be traveling from London, where he attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday.

According to a preliminary schedule released by the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ruto will meet with African heads of state to discuss climate change and its consequences, including the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa and flooding in Sudan.

“In his capacity as Coordinator, President Dr Ruto will also chair a meeting of the Conference of African Heads of State on Climate Crisis (CAHOSCC),” said a dispatch from the Ministry on Monday.

“The 77th UNGA coincides with the worst drought in the Horn of Africa with many countries in the region, including Kenya, are experiencing unprecedented effects in the last forty years.

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“At the United Nations Headquarters, Kenya will seek to promote its foreign policy at the multilateral system including enhancing participation in the quest for realisation of SDGs and global leadership in emerging issues including climate change.”

Dr Ruto is scheduled to address the General Assembly for the first time as head of state, although he had given a speech here in 2016 then as Deputy President representing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

US President Joe Biden will kick off the speeches and will be followed by representatives from Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia, Libya and Moldova.

This year’s UNGA theme is “A watershed moment: Transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”, under which leaders are expected to discuss the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global energy crisis, climate change, and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his inauguration speech last week, Dr Ruto promised to place climate change among priority items to deal with.

“Among the central concerns of my government will be climate change. In our country, women and men, young people, farmers, workers and local communities suffer the consequences of climate emergency,” he said, suggesting he will encourage alternatives to fossil fuels.

“Africa has the opportunity to lead the world. We have immense potential for renewable energy. Reducing costs of renewal energy technologies make these the most viable energy source. We call on all African states to join us in this journey.”

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