UN takes SDGs message to Kenya's most popular marathon
Runners take off at the starting line of the Standard Chattered Nairobi Marathon 21 Km race. On the front, left (in white shirt and cap) of the track is the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee. Over twenty thousand people took part in the 2016 edition of the marathon.
Up to 150 UN members of staff and their families took place in the fourteenth edition of the Standard Chattered Nairobi Marathon. The team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, had a clear message - the pursuit for the Sustainable Development Goals should “leave no one behind.”
Through an imposing “LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND” emblazoned in black on the back of their sparkling white t-shirts, the members of staff spread the message of the need for inclusivity in the country’s pursuit of the SDGs to some twenty thousand participants and millions others following the event on TV and social media. The t-shirts also bore the SDGs artwork with the seventeen goals printed on both the front and the back of the t-shirts.
This awareness initiative couldn’t have come at a better time. Just last month, the Government of Kenya launched the national implementation plan for the Sustainable Development Goals, and expressed commitment that ‘‘no one will be left behind’’ in the economic and social prosperity of the country. The need to sensitize Kenyans on the SDGs was also emphasized during the launch. “We are going to partner with all stakeholders to ensure that these SDGs are known by all the common mwananchi on the ground. We must move from board room to the village” said a member of a County Assembly.
In fact, two of the thematic areas of the SDGs implementation roadmaps envisage conducting extensive advocacy, awareness creation and promoting localization of the SDGs.
In a recent media interview with the Irish Times, Mr. Chatterjee said that the UN has already begun a synchronized process of advocacy and sensitization around the goals for members of government and civil society in the hope that the development agenda would soon be understood. “We are going to work with the government to provide localization and mainstreaming in the national and local government development plans. The SDGs already fit well with the government’s development programme, Kenya Vision 2030,” he said.
As the Government’s key partner on development, the UN’s participation in the marathon is, in essence, aligned with the country’s implementation plan and the strategic areas of focus for UN support. Since the adoption of the goals, at an inter-governmental talks co-facilitated by Kenya and Ireland, Kenya has been keen on retaining the leadership and doing so by example. The launch of the implementation roadmap came at a time when the UN had begun engaging with county governments with a view to mainstreaming the SDGs in the County Integrated Development Plans.