Rio De Janeiro — President Mwai Kibaki has arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development/ Rio + 20, which will take place from 20th to 22nd June, 2012.
The President will join an estimated 130 Heads of State and Government who are expected to attend the Conference.
Besides world leaders, the conference will bring together thousands of participants from the private sector, civil society and other groups, to deliberate on how to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.
The official discussions will focus on two main themes; namely, how to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development and lift people out of poverty; and how to improve international coordination for sustainable development by reforming and strengthening of the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD).
Of particular importance to Kenya will be deliberations on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development which will focus, among other things, on the transformation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into a specialized institution on environment or so-called United Nations Environment Organization (UNEO).
The proposed UNEO is expected to operate on an equal footing with other UN specialized agencies, enjoying political status with stable and predictable funding. This will enable it to effectively execute its mandate as the principal international body for the environment.
President Kibaki is expected to call for this transformation of UNEP into a United Nations Environment Organisation. This follows his decision to send out Special Envoys to lobby various key countries for support for the transformation of UNEP into a United Nations Environment Organisation, with its headquarters in Nairobi.
Both the African Group and European Union are the main proponents of UNEO based in Nairobi as contained in the African Union Consensus Statement on RIO+20 as adopted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012. The Chinese Government has also endorsed the African Union position.
President Kibaki is accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Sam Ongeri, Minister for Environment, Chirau Mwakwere, Minister for East Africa Community, Musa Sirma, Attorney General, Prof. Githu Muigai and Members of Parliament, Kiema Kilonzo and Peris Simam.
At the Airport, the President was received by senior officials of the Government of Federative Republic of Brazil, Kenya's Ambassador to Federative Republic of Brazil Amb. Kirimi Kaberia and Kenya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Macharia Kamau.