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Former President Mwai Kibaki received his certificate of appointment as a special envoy for water in Africa from Unesco Regional Director Mohammed Djeli) and Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa in Nairobi on June 22, 2016. The honour was designated to him by the UNESCO Director-General in a ceremony in Paris, France in April this year, which was attended by current Kenya President, Uhuru Kenyatta Cabinet Secretary for Water Eugene Wamalwa received the award on behalf of Mr Kibaki
The designation came in recognition of the former President’s efforts to highlight education as an important tool for the success of water-related projects and activities, promote water management in a sustainable manner, support initiatives aiming to make potable drinking water accessible to communities, notably in his capacity as a Patron of the Millenium Water Alliance.
Speaking at the event held at his Nyari office, Mr Kibaki described his new role as timely because “current statistics on water in Africa point to a very gloomy picture indeed.” The appointment means Mr Kibaki will campaign for safe drinking water on the continent, as part of Unesco's efforts to increase access to water for all.
"I started off representing Kenyans only. It is wonderful to end up supporting all these Africans. I am sure we will succeed. And I am sure the world will join us. Let us, therefore, put all our hearts in the job and do it properly."
Unesco Regional Director Mohammed Djelid said Mr Kibaki's acceptance of the new role will be important in ensuring that the agency's campaign is successful. "The acceptance embodies Kenya's leadership on taking forward the values of Unesco. "Water is a human right and yet it remains a scarce resource. What we need now is research and good leadership and governance required to manage our water. "
The designation comes in recognition of the former President’s efforts to highlight education as an important tool for the success of water-related projects and activities, promote water management in a sustainable manner, support initiatives aiming to make potable drinking water accessible to communities, notably in his capacity as a Patron of the Millenium Water Alliance.
Cabinet Secretary for Water Eugene Wamalwa received the award on behalf of Mr Kibaki in Paris, France where he had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta for a state visit.
In his acceptance speech , Kibaki said he is persuaded that there is sufficient goodwill following the UNESCO decision to appoint him for the role.
“I am under no illusion that the task ahead is huge and even daunting. However, I am also persuaded that there is sufficient goodwill – as indeed shown by UNESCO in the appointment of a Special Envoy for Water in Africa – as there is unexplored expertise within continent that would, if better coordinated, chart a new destiny for water in the continent.” reads the acceptance speech.
Mr Kibaki stated that: “To appreciate the gravity of the matter at hand and enormity of the task ahead in this new role, it is necessary to briefly explore basic facts that define Africa’s water dilemma today.”
As a Special Envoy for Water in Africa, Mwai Kibaki will lend his support to UNESCO in mobilizing the international community, Heads of State and Government, as well as civil society actors to recognize the importance of sustainable water resources management in Africa.