President Uhuru Kenyatta has advocated for the strengthening of the international legal regime and institutions as part of global efforts to end the challenge of maritime insecurity.
At the same time, the President appealed for the cessation of geopolitical rivalries saying tensions between nations were creating an environment that aids maritime insecurity.
“Competition between established and rising powers leaves us all, worse off. Instead, we need a strengthened emphasis on observing international law and resisting the lure of promoting proxy rivalries in pursuit of narrow interests,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke on Monday during the virtual United Nations Security Council (UNSC) debate on maritime security. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India whose country holds this month’s UNSC presidency.
Noting that threats to maritime insecurity such as terrorism, piracy and robbery at sea are predominantly a factor of land-based instability, President Kenyatta proposed the establishment of secure maritime routes and economic zones by strengthening the potential of countries to resolve domestic and regional security challenges.
“…international cooperation should prioritise equipping and training effective national coast guards. A properly contextualized regional and sub-regional approach is the way to go,” the President said.
He reminded the UNSC that rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions occasioned by climate change threatens the existence of some small island states and coastal populations, saying the challenge requires urgent international attention.
“Therefore, successful global climate change adaptation and mitigation, is key to the security of these states,” President Kenyatta said.
The Kenyan leader encouraged innovative free and fair trade regimes in areas such as the Indian Ocean Rim, and expressed confidence that new approaches will deliver economic prosperity to the world’s poorest economies.
The President said Kenya will continue to champion for environmentally friendly and sustainable utilization of blue economy resources noting that the first ever global sustainable blue economy conference was held in Nairobi.
The November 2018 conference was co-hosted by Kenya, Canada and Japan, and brought together delegates from 184 countries to deliberate on the sustainability of the global blue economy.
“Kenya, therefore, welcomes this debate as a continuing conversation on the subject and the Council’s (UNSC) contribution to the attainment of the aspirations of the 2018 Nairobi Sustainable Blue Economy Conference,” President Kenyatta said.
On his part, Prime Minister Modi commended Kenya for being an important voice in the sustainable utilization of the blue economy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Pham Minch Chinh of Vietnam, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were other key speakers at the virtual meeting.