UNEP finally gets top UN Assembly status raising Nairobi’s profile as host city


Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi is now the home of the newly upgraded United Nations Environmental Assembly, formerly known as the UN Environment Programme. A sustained campaign by Kenya and her friends in the region and on the continent was finally seeing the fruits of a long labour to bring a key UN component to the African continent, and with UNEP already based in Nairobi there was no question where the new assembly would be located. With Africa arguably the most affected continent by climate change and global warming, many in the UN Assembly felt it was the right thing to do to upgrade UNEP into a fully fledged organization, to give Africa a voice and highlight the upcoming environmental challenges the world is faced with.

Nairobi is one of the best connected cities in Africa when it comes to air traffic and a major expansion programme for the congested Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is underway, creating a second runway and more than tripling available terminal spaces by 2016/17, allowing yet more airlines to fly to Kenya’s capital. Besides national airline Kenya Airways, which connects the continent like few others with the rest of the world, the three main Gulf giants Emirates – double daily – Qatar Airways and Etihad are meeting at JKIA with the leading European airlines but also an increasing number of airlines from the Far and South East.

We had a lot of negative publicity in the past. The entire issue of Somalia and then our elections have dampened interest in travel to Kenya. The decision by the UN to upgrade UNEP is most welcome therefore. It affirms that Nairobi is a worthy partner to the UN and a capable host city to the new UNEA. They have world class facilities at Gigiri where their headquarters are located. Our hotels are among the best in Africa and new big hotel names are coming to Kenya all the time. Our airport is the busiest and best connected in this part of Africa. The good publicity with the UN decision will hopefully translate in a lot more conferences and meetings coming to Nairobi focusing on the environment and all the related problems and opportunities, so we are happy’ said a regular tourism source from Nairobi when discussing the development on email yesterday. Well done Kenya.