Statement Summary: What Ruto Told the UN General Assembly

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The President of Kenya said that hundreds of millions of people are besieged by anxiety about their present and future security, dignity and prospects of well-being.

 “The poverty, fear, suffering and humanitarian distress haunting the victims of conflict, drought, famine, flooding, wildfires, cyclones, deadly disease outbreaks and other disasters, are the outcomes of sustained violation of essential principles, and the systematic neglect of humanity’s dearest values, which lie at the very foundation of the Charter of the United Nations,” he stressed.

The failure of peace and security systems, inadequate development and limited climate action, amidst technological advancement and enormous wealth, has left a state of paralysis, enduring one of the darkest periods of human existence.  

“If any confirmation was ever needed that the United Nations Security Council is dysfunctional, undemocratic, non-inclusive, unrepresentative and therefore incapable of delivering meaningful progress in our world as presently constituted, the rampant impunity of its actors on the global scene settles the matter,” he emphasized.

The international community has fallen seriously behind in meeting its targets in both climate action and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as their underlying enabler, peace and security.

“Kenya is proud of the contributions it continues to make in its tireless endeavour to support peacemaking, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and other interventions undertaken across different regions,” he said, deploring unconstitutional changes to Government.  Among several peace initiatives supported by Kenya, he mentioned a delegation of six African Heads of State to Moscow and Kyiv with a 10-point peace plan and efforts to initiate a mediation process between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  

“The hunger for peace and security in Africa is evident, and this bodes well for the prospects of attaining the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and global peace,” he said, adding that Haiti is the ultimate test of international solidarity and collective action, as it deserves better from the world.  

“As we mobilize to show up for Ukraine and countries that have experienced the devastating impact of climate shocks including Libya, Morocco and Hawaii, we must not leave Haiti behind,” he stressed, urging the United Nations to facilitate the deployment of multinational security support to Haiti.

“The tragic spectacle of young people from Africa boarding rickety contraptions to gamble their lives away on dangerous voyages in pursuit of opportunities abroad, as conflict, climate and economic refugees, is a testament of the failures of the global economic system,” he said, adding that each year 30 million young people need jobs and many more need food while half of Africa is in the dark without access to electricity in 2023.

 “Capital and technology can find no better returns anywhere, than the tremendous investment opportunity in Africa’s potential.  Such investment would drive green growth creating jobs and wealth while decarbonizing global production and consumption,” he underscored, stating that no meaningful climate action or development can take place in conditions of financial distress.

Accordingly, the new sovereign debt architecture should extend the tenor of sovereign debt and provide a 10-year grace period.  He also called for more concessional loans and reorganizing the financial market.

“The entire system of risk assessment and the opaque methodologies employed by credit rating agencies and risk analysis needs to be overhauled,” he said, recalling the miscalculation of subprime mortgage risk by these agencies two decades ago which precipitated a financial crisis whose effects reverberate today.

 “We also recognize that multilateralism is broken and it is our responsibility to repair it,” he concluded.

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