Europe Day marked the origin of the European Union as a project for peace in Europe. The EU aims to contribute to peace and security and to the sustainable development of the Earth (Article 2 of the EU Lisbon Treaty.) The achievements of the EU in this area, we are convinced, won the EU the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. This is also why the EU supports peace efforts around the world, including Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Alas, Europe is not at peace on May 9 because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. If we could have a birthday wish today, it would be peace for the people of Ukraine, and comfort for those suffering the consequences of Russia’s aggression around the world. We are pleased with the global outpouring of support for Ukraine and its citizens, their sovereignty and their freedom from foreign aggression.
Closer to Kenya, in the past year the relationship between Kenya, the EU and its Member States, or Team Europe as we like to call it, has been successful. Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Brussels in June, we established a new EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue that expands and deepens our partnership, focusing on political, security and regional issues, sustainable development, as well as trade. and investment. A first result focused on strategic dialogue took place in January and we are confident that we will move from strength to strength. Together, the EU and Kenya brought their partnership forward at the AU-EU Summit in Brussels in February this year.
A very important mutual interest is the green transition, which focuses on caring for the planet for future generations. The drought that is currently affecting many parts of Kenya and destroying many livelihoods serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of tackling climate change. The EU has long been a supporter of the National Drought Management Authority and other green policy measures in Kenya. The EU has also increased its humanitarian aid to Kenya to respond to the life-threatening effects of the drought. Our theme for Europe Day 2022 is young Kenyans and the Green Transition.
Much more needs to be done on all sides, and young people need to be fully involved. The climate crisis is a challenge for everyone, but especially for the young people who will inherit the world, we will leave behind. However, daily life for many young Kenyans also means that the fight against climate change and environmental degradation has taken the back seat to meeting their needs.
This year, on Europe Day, we want to highlight that the protection of the planet and the preservation of livelihoods for the next generations of Kenyans are closely connected. The green transition offers many opportunities for jobs and livelihood and, with it, for the country’s continued economic and social transformation. Our online program for Europe Day at 18:00 today (on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel @EUinKenya) will showcase the achievements of young Kenyans already working on the green transition and inspiring others, including the support of Team Europe.
We will not neglect this: The green transition is a key theme for Team Europe’s support to Kenya under the EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue. It covers the circular economy, climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, natural capital and biodiversity, and sustainable urban development and infrastructure. We are mobilizing approximately Sh400 billion for Kenya in grants, loans, and mixing in 118 different projects implemented by the EU Member States, and the European Investment Bank. This is just one of many initiatives.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, supports Kenya’s early steps towards renewable energy generation. The bank has been active in Kenya since 1975 and opened its regional hub for East Africa here in Nairobi in November. This underscores our appreciation for the environmental support that Kenya provides. The EIB office here will also help spearhead the EU’s new Global Gateway Initiative that focuses on key investments in Kenya and the region, to promote green jobs, growth, and much more.
What leads us to trust Kenya is not only Kenya’s economic strength in the region but more than that, Kenya’s democratic status as the front-runner in the region and its independent judiciary guaranteeing the rule of law.
Democratic processes can be complex. We know that very well from our experiences in Europe. However, Kenya’s democracy and its rule of law are the best guarantees that conditions of freedom will prevail, for the Kenyan media, for civil society, for domestic and international investors, and for all women and men of Kenya – we hope that the upcoming elections will see more women elected. These are the conditions necessary to build real human development and prosperity for all Kenyans.
The EU, along with other similar partners, will continue to stand on Kenya’s side: We have been invited by the IEBC and the Kenyan government to deploy the EU Elections Observer Mission for the 2022 elections. This deployment will contribute to the continuous improvement in good governance that began in 2002, under the guidance of President Mwai Kibaki. A credible and peaceful election will consolidate Kenya’s leading role in the region, in Africa, and around the world.
EU support will build on the existing strengths of the EU-Kenya relationship: Team Europe is among Kenya’s largest development partners. We are the largest trading partner and export market in Kenya. We are working closely with our Kenyan partners to begin the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement as soon as possible. But of course, in the climate crisis we face we need to embrace the green transition – and the creative power of Kenya’s youth – to grow sustainably, inclusive and greener.
Source: News Founded