For a country that has several key United Nations agencies to be chosen to host yet another one is a big honour. Kenya is home to the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and UN-Habitat headquarters, giving it some prominence in the international community.
Unep’s establishment in 1972 not only brought environmental issues to the global stage but also marked the first time an international organisation would be based in the global South. The agency is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.
However, it has not always been smooth, with some disgruntled officials suggesting that these key agencies would be better located in developed countries. But Kenya has done so well to ensure a conducive environment for these UN agencies to operate by enhancing security and easing their affairs.
The country has also been the proud host of the UN-Habitat since 1975. It is noteworthy that the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly (UNHA II) will be held in Nairobi from June 5 to 9, cementing its role as the venue for crucial international deliberations on global human needs.
Now the country is set for a further boost of its UN presence, with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) set to move to Nairobi. Kenya will thus host yet another UN agency.
The UNOPS Africa Regional Office is currently based in Denmark, with country offices in Kenya and a number of other African countries. The move to Nairobi, it is expected, will enhance the World Bank’s ability to support its African partners to build a better future for the people.
It is particularly aimed at boosting African countries’ efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change consequences and respond to peace and security, humanitarian and development challenges across the continent. The new Nairobi base is a vote of confidence in the country’s contribution to the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.