Prime Minister, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to visit Kenya and Nairobi once again! I have travelled here several times since the 1990s. However, this is my first working-visit.
I am also pleased that the purpose is to be present at this Conference. And on a topic of such vital importance to our respective countries and to Planet Earth: "Climate Change: A Common Challenge."
In the run up to the Copenhagen Conference in December, this important gathering here in Nairobi is arranged together with the United Nations Environment Programme.
Climate and the environment are issues high on the agenda of the Swedish European Union Presidency.
One of the events during the Presidency was the European Development Days, organised last month in Stockholm. During the meeting I met with Prime Minister Odinga and the Kenyan delegation. We discussed the impact of the drought affecting the livelihood of millions of Kenyans.
Kenya is also the host country of UNEP and UN-Habitat and has an important role in the region.
The United Nations has a key role in addressing climate change. Most countries of the world have joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change.
UNEP has more than twenty years of experience working on climate change and they helped establishing the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change.
To conclude I would like to emphasise the common challenge – because this is indeed what it is: a challenge that we must face and take on together to protect, preserve and restore our common environment.
I have seen the list of speakers and their different topics, and I very much would have liked to stay.
Regrettably though, my schedule does not permit this.
With the hope that you will have fruitful discussions, I hereby open the conference “Climate Change: A Common Challenge."