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UNEP will not move from Kenya over insecurity

24 June 2014, 08:10

Nairobi - The UN Environment Program (UNEP) which has now been upgraded to a fully fledged UN agency is not planning to move its offices away from Nairobi, a senior UN official said on Monday.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told the first UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi that the travel advisories issued by some countries from Western nations will not affect the UN environmental agency's operations.

"The presence of the over 1,000 global delegates is an indication of the confidence they have in Kenya which East Africa's hub in numerous ways as well as being important information centre," Steiner said.

This is the first time that all United Nation members states will meet to discuss environmental issues at UNEP.

Kenya has been rocked by a wave of terror attacks that have been blamed on the Al-Shabaab based in Somalia.

The string of terror attacks in recent months has culminated with the mass evacuation of British tourists from Mombasa and relocating of some staff at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi following twin attacks in the coastal region where at least 60 people were killed.

More than 200 people have been killed in these attacks and hundreds have been injured with half of these attacks occurring in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties.

"However, the presence of UNEP in Kenya is a huge investment and calls for constant monitoring of security," he said.

Steiner, who is also the UN Under-Secretary General, said that Kenyan government is currently implementing measures to tackle the terror attacks.

"Terrorism is a global phenomenon that affects all regions of the world," he said.

"We are all aware of the stories circulating in the local media about insecurity, but UNEP having spent 42 years here and has its roots in this country is not planning an exit," Steiner said.

Steiner said Kenya stands to benefit from the UNEP's headquarters presence as the world is now transiting to adopt Sustainable Development Goals, which put environment at the heart of all development agenda.

The newly elected President of the United Nations Environment Assembly Oyun Sanjaasuren said UNEP is now well placed to advocate for environmental issues due to its universal membership.

 - Xinhua

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