PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD- President of Kenya, His Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 15thquadrennial Session, on October 4, 2021, via a virtual platform being streamed from Barbados, opening ceremony and plenary session of the four-day conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
President Kenyatta told delegates to look for avenues for economic diversification; more sustainable resilient economies, to improve the way development was financed, and to revitalize multilateralism to achieve a sustainable, inclusive, and digital world of shared prosperity.
The President stated “We already have a framework for transitioning from inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all. It includes goals and targets established through the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is now time to move from promises and commitments. It is now time to accelerate implementation of these promises and pledges.”
He also used the opportunity to reiterate his call for the international community to come together and work towards a functional multilateral system to enhance pandemic preparedness and response, in order to achieve a “robust global health care architecture”, to address future threats from a pandemic.
“No single government or multilateral agency can address these threats alone. We must work together in solidarity if we are indeed to succeed,” President Kenyatta added.
He contended the COVID-19 pandemic had created an unprecedented socio-economic disruption that exasperated the vulnerabilities of many countries and widened inequality.
Additionally, Mr. Kenyatta remarked that the pandemic had reversed or stalled the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, thereby “rendering millions of people to lose their lives as well as their livelihoods”.
“Many have fallen into extreme poverty as tax revenues have dipped due to the contraction of economic activities, and the increase in the debt burden. The fiscal space to provide the safety net to vulnerable groups in many of our countries, has equally, been significantly constrained,” he noted.
The Kenyan President said the Conference’s theme: From inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all was welcomed, as it aimed to ensure that no one was left behind.
The conference, hosted by the Government of Barbados, will be held in a hybrid format with events in Barbados, Geneva, and across the world until October 7.
With economies all over the world ravaged by COVID-19, the landmark event will offer UNCTAD’s 195 member States an opportunity to devise new ways to ensure trade delivers for all and can address the massive unmet trade, finance, investment,and technology needs of developing countries.
The quadrennial UN event is the highest decision-making body of UNCTAD. It sets priorities for the next four years and formulates global policy recommendations on trade and development.