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Kenyan runners to celebrate strengthening of UNEP

NAIROBI, Jan. 31 — The UN Environment Program (UNEP) said on Wednesday that some of Kenya's top runners will race through the streets of Nairobi alongside the public in February to celebrate the strengthening and upgrading of the agency.

A statement from the Nairobi-based UNEP said the race will make Nairobi a true world environmental capital, and to support an initiative to raise awareness of the need for peaceful elections in Kenya.

The statement said the 21-kilometer celebratory run organized by the Paul Tergat Foundation, Athletics Kenya and UNEP will take place on Feb. 24.

"As well as celebrating UNEP's new universal membership, the race is in support of The Sports for Peaceful Elections Campaign, started in January by the UN, the Sports Association, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Google Kenya," the statement said.

The campaign seeks to break the unprecedented post elections violence cycle as witnessed in 2007/8 and complement existing peace campaigns.

The Sports 4 Peaceful Elections campaign has drawn sports personalities from various disciplines to drive a national interactive campaign using Google+ as the main social media platform.

These sports stars shall host a series of Google+ Hangouts to sensitize multitudes of Kenyans, in the country and the Diaspora, on the electoral processes, as well as a personal pledge to maintain peace.

Among those expected to feature in the February race are Paul Tergat, former marathon world record holder; Patrick Makau, current marathon world record holder; Catherine Ndereba, former marathon world champion and Tegla Loroupe, former half-marathon world champion

World leaders in July 2012 agreed to strengthen UNEP as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda and promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system.

The East African nation which hosts several UN agencies had been lobbying the international community for the transformation of UNEP into a UN Environment Organization, with several key countries pledging their support.

Kenya sent several delegations to various countries including China to lobby UN members to push for the upgrade of UNEP into a fully fledged body. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/RSM

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