Courtesy MFA KENYA
On Friday, October 1st, 2021, Kenya assumed the rotational Presidency of the United Nations Security Council, a water shed moment in the country’s two-year tenure at the Security Council. The significance of Kenya presiding over Council’s affairs stems from the fact that the UN Security Council is the principal organ for the maintenance and furtherance of international peace and security.
Kenya is also a member of the AU Peace and Security Council, the standing decision-making organ of the African Union for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in the Continent. It is, too, a critical component of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). These concurrent memberships implies that Kenya’s Presidency of the UN Security Council constitutes a powerful representation of Africa in guiding the work of the Council on global peace and security concerns.
Kenya’s membership of the UN Security Council is in keeping with the country’s desire to shape the global security environment in order to make Kenya – and Kenyans – safer. Accordingly, the October 2021 Presidency of the Council will provide a strategic platform to imprint on the Council Kenyan – as well as African – ethos in addressing global security challenges. Indeed, as an anchor of stability within the region, Kenya has remained as a strong voice for Africa, as well as the Caribbean and the Pacific in addressing the intractable challenges that face the world.
Against this background, a number of High-Level Signature events have been considered that will not only anchor the country’s Presidency of the Council, but will also be vital in advancing His Excellency President Uhuru KENYATTA’s Pan Africanist vision. President Kenyatta is scheduled to chair two High Level Debates at the Heads of State and Government level, while Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle OMAMO will chair two Ministerial High-Level Debates.
Similarly, two Arria Formula meetings of the Security Council will be convened during Kenya’s Presidency. These meetings will be in an effort to proffer practical and innovative solutions to challenges that particularly affect Africa and its Diaspora. The first one will be on Haiti, a country where slavery was first abolished and one whose triumphant Revolution inspired liberation crusades across continents. Unfortunately, Haiti’s glorious march to freedom and independence has suffered tremendous setbacks. As a beacon of freedom and hope for many colonial countries fighting for independence during the 19th and 20th Centuries, Haiti has endured many challenges due to a continuing legacy of slavery, colonization and environmental degradation.
The convening of the Arria Formula meeting by the A-3+1 (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and St Vincent and the Grenadines) therefore, will not only be consistent with His Excellency President Kenyatta’s Pan Africanist vision, but will also, hopefully, go a long way in addressing the security, political, economic, humanitarian and human rights crises that Haiti faces today.
The second Arria Formula meeting during Kenya’s Presidency will be on the role of social media in advancing hate speech. The organizing capabilities of social media has an acute implication in the context of peace and security matters. Kenya remains aware of how the convening and mobilizing powers of social media platforms have been demonstrated in electioneering periods. And while remaining keen on the positive impact of these platforms, it will be borne in mind that mobilized negatively in the context of hate speech, social media platforms can be a destabilizing factor in societies that are in transition.
The Kenyan Presidency of the Council will, therefore, offer a platform where hate speech and social media platforms – particularly in electioneering periods – can be deliberated. This would be with a view of drawing out and addressing pitfalls associated with negative deployment of these platforms.
Kenya remains cognizant that a successful Presidency of the Council in the month of October 2021 will not only be vital in the advancement of its foreign policy objectives, but will also contribute to a more safe, secure and prosperous Africa and the world.