Activities of the Secretary-General in Kenya, 9-11 May

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres departed New York on Wednesday, 9 May, for Nairobi where he arrived on the morning of 10 May to attend the United Nations Civil Society Conference in Support of the Summit of the Future.

In remarks to the press that afternoon at the UN’s Gigiri complex, the Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences  to all those affected by the devastating floods that had swept through Kenya and neighbouring countries.  The United Nations stands in solidarity with the Kenyan people, he said.  He added that we will continue working hand-in-hand to support the Government’s relief efforts in any way that we can.

The Secretary-General reiterated his appeal for the Government of Israel and the leadership of Hamas to demonstrate political courage and spare no effort to reach agreement to stop the bloodshed — and to free the hostages.

He said that we are actively engaging with all involved for the resumption of the entry of life-saving supplies — including desperately needed fuel — through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings.  But he warned that a massive ground attack in Rafah would lead to an epic humanitarian disaster and pull the plug on our efforts to support people as famine looms.

In a bilateral meeting with the President of Kenya, William Ruto, the Secretary-General expressed his condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by recent flooding.  He also saluted Kenya’s leadership of the Multinational Security Support Mission that is so desperately needed for Haiti.

In his remarks to the closing of the civil society conference, the Secretary-General saluted the role of society in our world.  Whether on climate, gender equality or peace, Mr. Guterres added that he has witnessed the enormous impact of civil society in every corner of the world.  He encouraged the representatives — the majority of them young people — to continue to work with the United Nations to build a better world.

The Secretary-General went on to underscore the need for civil society voices in our common effort to revitalize our multilateral system which is no longer up to the task.  A system, he explained, in which civil society is often marginalized.  As outlined in his Our Common Agenda report, Mr. Guterres said we need a vision for a more inclusive, networked and effective multilateralism, one where the contributions of civil society are recognized as central — not a token or an afterthought.

“We won’t give up in the struggle for peace, justice and human rights, and I know you won’t either.  My best hope for the future is you,” the Secretary-General concluded.

For the United Nations, on the road to the Summit of the Future in September we will strive to fully engage civil society.  (See Press Release SG/SM/22220.) 

On the sidelines of the conference the Secretary-General met with the co-facilitators of the Summit of the Future, the New York-based Permanent Representatives of Namibia and Germany.

The Secretary-General departed that afternoon to Kuwait.

For information media. Not an official record.