President Sirleaf has performed a symbolic tree-planting ceremony at the behest of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). President Sirleaf performed the ceremony amid rapturous welcome, cheers and chanting from the huge family of the United Nations Regional Office in Nairobi.
A dispatch from Nairobi, Kenya, said President Sirleaf performed the symbolic tree-planting as a demonstration of her commitment to environmental friendliness and the preservation of the global ecosystem. Flanked by the Director Generals of UN Office at Nairobi including Madame Sahle-Work Zewde of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner of UN-HABITAT, Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos as well as senior staff of the UN System, President Sirleaf was taken on a guided tour of the main administrative complex of UNON situated on a 158 acres of land donated by the Government of Kenya to the United Nations.
President Sirleaf thanked the Government and people of Kenya for the hospitality and warm welcome extended to the Liberian delegation since their arrival and termed 2015 as a historic year amid the transition from MDGs to SDGs, progress at the Addis Ababa International Conference on Financing, the adoption of the SDGs in New York and the landmark Paris Climate Change agreement, and Liberia’s Accession to the WTO.
She expressed thanks to the staff of United Nations Office in Nairobi whose contributions she added went into the long drawn out discussions that will bring enormous benefits to mainly Least Developed Countries (LDCs). President Sirleaf said it was significant that national governments now have an obligation to develop plan to be progressively implemented and also thanked the United Nations Environment Programme for its key role in the Climate Change breakthrough.
The Liberian leader stressed the ardent need for partnership as the thrust of increased mutual benefits for all sides and noted that Kenya could work with Liberia in a number of areas that would enhance trade and commerce. “Realizing that most of our countries’ populations are particularly comprised of young people (60%), we need to do more to provide education, create jobs, and better healthcare for their prosperity”, President Sirleaf indicated. She also challenged UNON staff to go out and be agents and soldiers of development to impact the world.
Welcoming President Sirleaf earlier, the United Nations Regional Headquarters for Africa, Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General of UNON noted that the complex is paying host to UNEP, UN-HABITAT, the Kenya Country Office, Offices of UN Peacekeeping operations and a host of UN System-related Programmes.
Madame Sahle-Work Zewde commended President Sirleaf for being the first democratically elected female Head of State in Liberia and Africa and informed the UNON gathering that President Sirleaf, as the first female to be democratically enthroned is also a leader of Africa’s oldest independent Republic – that is a founding member of the League of Nations and the United Nations respectively.
She saluted the courage of Liberians who after decades of conflict turned to a woman for leadership at a critical juncture of the country. Madame Sahle-Work Zewde reiterated a famous quote from the Book authored by President Sirleaf; “This Child Will Be Great” – that “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. ”If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”, she concluded -Dispatch