Kenya’s envoy to UN honoured with prestigious gold medal

By: B M J MURIITHI

Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations was on Tuesday night feted for his exemplary contribution to global environmental diplomacy.

Mr Macharia Kamau received the 2014 Elizabeth Haub gold medal during an event attended by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials of the global organisation at Pace Law School in New York.

The award is conferred by a jury composed of representatives from the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL) and Pace Law School.

Mr Kamau was accompanied by his peers in diplomatic service as he received the trophy which was presented to him by the Pace University Provost, Dr Uday Sukhatme.

The award consists of a solid gold medal and a diploma and recognises the innovation, skill and accomplishments of diplomats, international civil servants, scholars and negotiators who play significant roles towards the establishment of a world environmental order.

“Mr Kamau’s extraordinary ambassadorial achievements in shaping international law through his negotiation skills have led to the realisation of environmentally sustainable development goals,” said Dr Sukhatme.

On Wednesday, Mr Kamau told the Nation that he did not consider the acknowledgement as merely a personal feat but an honour to Kenya.

“I am nonetheless very excited as an individual. It is very humbling to see your efforts being appreciated this way,” he said on the phone.

“Diplomacy can sometimes feel like a long lonely slog, especially if one is working on areas that are not considered very high profile,” he said.

During the ceremony, Mr Kamau expressed his hope that the Sustainable Development Goals will soon be a reality.

“I am confident when they are adopted in September this year, they will fulfill the promise of greater prosperity and peace on our beleaguered planet.

He said he was encouraged by the presence of the UN Secretary General.

“He has graced an occasion that many would consider a personal achievement. The good Lord has chosen to smile upon me in a special and unique way,” said the Kenyan diplomat.

The Elizabeth Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy is conferred annually on recommendation of an international Jury.