Kenya is set to become the leading diplomatic hub in the developing world after the United Nations Environment Programme was upgraded to a fully-fledged UN organisation.
The UN General Assembly last week agreed by consensus to rename Unepâ€™s governing council the United Nations Environmental Assembly.
The decision, taken on March 14 at the UN headquarters in New York, means Unep will now have the â€œpolitical voice and visibilityâ€ as the leading authority to set the global environmental agenda.
â€œIt will thus promote the coherent implementation of the environment dimension of sustainable development within the UN system and serve as an authoritative advocate for the global environment,â€ said a statement by the Kenyan mission to the UN.
The decision is a major victory for Kenya, which has been pushing for the upgrade of Unep. The Kenyan mission to the UN said the diplomatic representation in Nairobi would increase to a possible 193 member states from 58.
â€œThe formal adoption of the resolution by the General Assembly has opened up the initial limited membership of 58 states to universal participation of all the 193 UN member states,â€ said the statement.
Financial resources allocated to Unep from the UN regular budget as well as other voluntary funding will significantly increase to match its new mandate.
Unep, said the Kenyan mission, would now have powers to convene a universal assembly which with participation by heads of state on a biannual basis.
â€œParticipants will take important decisions on global agenda setting and policy making on environmental issues,â€ added the statement.
The draft resolution was presented by the President of the General Assembly as follow up to the decisions by the Heads of State and governments during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held last June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A follow up meeting of the first universal session of the Unep Governing Council was held in Nairobi last month, which recommended that the decision be made.-Nation