Plans to move the UNEP HQ from Nairobi
Plans to move the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP Africa Headquarters
from Nairobi to another country have been shelved.
This was said by the Environment Commissioner of the European Union Janez
Potocnik at 26tht UNEP Governing Council meeting at UNEP’s headquarters in
Gigiri. He said that that the proposal was decided in Helsink, Finland with
plans to transform UNEP into an institution with a stronger status as part of
the UN reform process.
Mr Janez ROtocnik said that the proposed transformation would result in UNEP
operating in similar ways as that of other multilateral organizations such as
the World Health Organization (WHO); World Food Programme (WFP) among others.
He said the agency, based in Nairobi, would make it possible to develop the
environmental dimension of sustainable development in an integrated and
Mr. Potocnik however stressed that, the EU and its Member States were not
proposing the addition of an organization on top of the existing structures, but
the transformation of UNEP into an institution with a stronger status.
The envoy said the move meant that all unified efforts were necessary in order
to improve International Environmental Governance as a prerequisite to achieve
sustainable development at the global level.
UNEP which has its head office in Nairobi is ranked with the other UN
headquarters, including New York, Geneva and Vienna. Nairobi is not only the
headquarters of UNEP but also of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme
UNEP first came to Kenya in 1970 with its offices located at Uchumi House and
the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi before being moved to
Gigiri in 1975. It was then joined by UN-HABITAT in 1978.
The UN has been under constant pressure to relocate UNEP to Europe with France
and Germany been accused of conspiring to move it from Nairobi with claims that
Nairobi was too insecure to host an U.N. agency..
In November 2009 while attending the African leaders meeting in Addis Ababa
Ethiopia, President Mwai Kibaki urged urged other participants to support the
upgrading of the UNEP offices in Nairobi to a fully-fledged World Environment
He said the severity of the environmental disaster and related challenges in
Africa justifies the improvement of UNEP’s capacity, which the European Union
is now in agreement.