Macharia Kamau

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Macharia Kamau
Half portrait of a man at a 3/4 angle in direct sunlight, wearing a white shirt with a necklace of white flowers. In the background is a wooden porch and turquoise house in front of a more distant grass roof.
Macharia Kamau, in 2016
Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York of Kenya
In office
Succeeded byLazarus Ombai Amayo
21st President of UNICEF
In office
Preceded byJarmo Viinanen
Succeeded byMaliha Lodhi
Personal details
Born (1958-03-03) March 3, 1958 (age 61)

Macharia Kamau (born 3 March 1958) is Kenya's Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He previously served as Kenya's representative to the United Nations and as the former President of the UNICEF Executives Board.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Kamau was born on 3 March 1958.[1] In 1982, he graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio, United States, with a B.A. in History, Economics, and Religion. In 1983, he obtained a Master of Education in Administration and Social Policy from Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.[2] He lists specializations in "macro-economic policy management and in social policy and planning".[3]


Kamau has had a long career in the service of the United Nations, including with UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Africa, the Caribbean and New York. He previously served as the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations from 2010 up to 26th Jan 2018, and previously in Nairobi (2009-2010). He has also served on UN special assignments, and was President of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board (2014); President of UN Forests Forum (2011-2012), Co-Chair of the Ad hoc Working Group on Forest Financing (2010-2011), Vice President of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly, Co-Chair of the General Assembly Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2012-2014) and as co-facilitator of the post 2015 Development Agenda (2014-2015). He was also Chairperson of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.

In May 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Kamau and Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on El Niño and Climate, tasking them with calling attention to the 60 million people around the world affected by severe El Niño-linked drought and climate impacts and mobilising an integrated response that takes preparedness for future climatic events into account.[4][5] In October 2016, President of the United Nations General Assembly Peter Thomson created a Sustainable Development Goals implementation team "in order to motivate actors at global, regional, national, and community levels" and appointed Kamau as the Special Envoy on Implementation and Climate Change. This team's tasks were to raise public awareness of the goals and their importance and to push for the implementation of the goals to the fullest extent possible by related agencies.[6]

Ambassador Kamau was appointed the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya in February 2018.[citation needed] On 22 March 2018, Kamau left his positions at the UN and announced his departure to the public via Twitter.[7]


Kamau is the co-author of Transforming Multilateral Diplomacy: The Inside Story of the Sustainable Development Goals, published in February 2018.

Political Views[edit]

Kamau views that peace can not be had when countries do not respect each other's borders and institutions.[8]

In 2018, Kamau criticized The New York Times and Financial Times on their coverage of Kenya and stated that he hoped they would take an audit on their editorial position on the country.[9]


  1. ^ a b "New Permanent Representative of Kenya Presents Credentials | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  2. ^ Kamau, Macharia. "LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  3. ^ "Macharia Kamau | PAGE". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  4. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Mary Robinson of Ireland, Macharia Kamau of Kenya Special Envoys on El Niño and Climate". United Nations. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  5. ^ Kelley, Kevin. "Kenyan Diplomat Macharia Kamau Named Special UN Envoy on El Niño and Climate". All Africa. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  6. ^ "General Assembly President outlines strategy for stepped-up implementing UN 2030 Agenda".
  7. ^ "Kenyan ambassador at UN quits". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  8. ^ de Carvalho, Gustavo. "What does new momentum for UN peace, security really mean?". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  9. ^ Siele, Martin (2018-03-19). "Macharia Kamau Blasts New York Times Over Woefully Biased Reporting". Retrieved 2018-08-20.