|President Mwai Kibaki ( 2nd R) amongst other Heads of State and Government follow proceedings during the Summit|
Africa's transition to the green economy and the urgency to establish appropriate international environmental governance structures are core to facilitating opportunities for youth empowerment, President Mwai Kibaki has said.
Addressing the 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea Thursday, President Kibaki said Kenya has co-sponsored a proposal by the Republic of Congo on Rio +20 that is geared towards the promotion of green economy in the context of institutional framework for sustainable development.
The proposal received overwhelming support during earlier discussions on the sidelines of the summit.
In this regard, President Kibaki urged African leaders to support the strengthening of UNEP in Nairobi with a view to transforming it into a specialized environmental agency of the UN that will have a clear mandate and established financing mechanism.
"A strong UNEP or specialized agency in Nairobi will also be of great pride and importance not only to Africa but the developing world as a whole," President Kibaki said.
The Head of State pointed out that as a member of the Committee of 10 on Climate Change, Kenya believes that the Climate Change meeting (COP 17) that will be held in Durban, South Africa must seek to achieve support for adaptation and the development of clean energy in Africa.
Emphasizing on the suitability of the theme of the summit ‘Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development', the President said Africa holds a range of opportunities for youth empowerment that need to be unleashed.
"This Summit needs to reaffirm our commitment to our shared values as enshrined in the African Youth Charter and agree on ways to enhance cooperation among our governments and other actors to fast track youth empowerment for sustainable development," President Kibaki said.
On its part, President Kibaki said, Kenya has taken various measures to empower the youth.
He pointed out that Kenya's new Constitution guarantees participation by the youth in socio-economic and political arenas.
President Kibaki said that the Constitution is further reinforced by the Kenya Government's commitment to the country's development blueprint, VISION 2030, which has identified flagship projects to integrate the youth in development activities.
The President added that Kenya's National Youth Policy provides a clear framework for harnessing youth potential through specific programmes.
"Current targets include creation of 500,000 jobs annually countrywide through national youth service initiatives that offer employment in public community development projects such as a re-forestation and road construction," President Kibaki said.
The Head of State observed that the his Government has also extended credit through the Youth Enterprise Development Fund for entrepreneurship and skill training activities.
In this connection, President Kibaki reiterated that Africa stands to gain by adopting strategies that transform the large populations of youth into catalysts for economic growth.
"The empowerment of the African youth is directly linked to some discussions that have taken place during this summit," President Kibaki said.
On peace and security, President Kibaki noted the progress made towards the resolution of various conflicts in Africa.
In the Horn of Africa, the President said the recent agreements in the Sudan offer opportunity for the youth to focus their attention to growth and development.
Similarly, President Kibaki pointed out that the Kampala Accord provides a new window to engage the people of Somalia in dialogue towards stability and the completion of the transitional tasks.
Said President Kibaki: "All these agreements require the solid support of this Assembly and the larger international community to avoid relapse of violence and the trapping of youngsters in war."
Noting that the development efforts in Africa can only be realised within a rule-based international system, President Kibaki said it is urged the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government to take all possible measures to ensure that other international actors, in particular the UN Security Council, are responsive to the African perspectives on conflict resolution, peacemaking and sustainable development.
Speaking during the summit, Equatorial Guinea President Obianga Nguema Mbasogo, who is the Chairman of the African Union, expressed satisfaction that the parties involved in the conflict of Sudan and Somalia have accepted the negotiated solutions.
President Nguema, therefore, appealed to them to respect the terms of the agreements.
Other speakers included AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva.
the Kenyan delegation at the summit included Cabinet Ministers Prof. George Saitoti, Paul Otuoma and Wycliffe Oparanya and Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka and Ramadhan Kajembe.