Uhuru becomes 1st Kenyan president to visit Portugal

President Uhuru Kenyatta has become the first Kenyan head of state to visit Portugal where he co-chaired the second United Nations Ocean Conference

President Uhuru Kenyatta co-chairs the second United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon with his Portugal counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and UN Secretary General António Guterres.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has become the first Kenyan head of state to visit Portugal after travelling to the European country on Monday, June 27, 2022.

President Kenyatta was formally received and recognised as the first Kenyan commander in chief to visit Portugal where he is expected to chair a special meeting.

"Our two Heads of State will be presiding over the high-level opening of the ocean conference together with the UN Secretary General.

This is very special. It is historic because this is the first time in history that a Kenyan Head of State has been recognized by our hosts, the Republic of Portugal,” Kenyan Ambassador to Portugal Judy Wakhungu said.

Kenya and Portugal were declared hosts for the conference after the 2017 inaugural UN Ocean Conference co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden in New York.

The conference was initially scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is aimed at accelerating the adoption of science-based innovative solutions to challenges facing oceans and the global marine ecosystem.

Oceans cover up to 70% of the earth’s surface and are home to over 80% of all life in the world.

They generate 50% of the oxygen needed by humans, absorb 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions, and capture 90% of the heat generated from anthropogenic activities.

As such, Prof Wakhungu said oceans are a key aspect of human life, emphasizing the importance of the conference not only to Kenya but to the world especially now that humanity is increasingly facing the negative impacts of climate change.

Ambassador Wakhungu said Kenya had prioritised blue economy as a key driver of her socioeconomic transformation agenda, adding that the conference builds on the successes of the inaugural UN Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi in 2018.

Kenya registered its intention that blue economy must be part and parcel of our livelihoods. We must protect our marine life, marine security is important to Kenya," Prof Wakhungu said.

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