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UNECA will continue to explore ways to help Africa fight climate change, says Murombedzi

Herdsmen are one of the victims of climate change

Devolved governance is playing a crucial role in helping Kenya come up with ways to mitigate effects of climate change at community level, says Mr. Keriako Tobiko, the country’s Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary.

In a speech presented during the country’s first National Conference on Climate Governance in Nairobi, Mr. Tobiko said five counties in Kenya were successfully applying a model of devolved climate finance and making a huge difference on the ground.

The County Climate Change Fund mechanism integrates climate risk and empowers poor and vulnerable communities in the face of climate change. The counties have put in place structures and processes to enable them to access and manage climate finance in transparent and accountable manner

Mr. Tobiko said the implementation of climate change actions was the responsibility of both government and non-state actors. The Cabinet Secretary lauded county governments who have put in place their climate change actions, demonstrating the critical role of devolved governance in the country’s transition towards a low carbon climate resilient development pathway.

He said Kenya, like other developing countries, was vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change due to the high dependence of climate-sensitive agricultural production but will leave no stone unturned in trying to come up with mitigation actions.

The Environment and Forestry Secretary said increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like droughts and floods have hit many regions across Kenya and now posed a challenge to the attainment of the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

“The poor, women and children in the various areas are most affected due to their low adaptive capacity. These threats, however, present some opportunities towards innovative and green investments,” he said.

Mr. Tobiko said Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) outlines the country’s climate change commitment under the Paris Agreement.

“Adaptation is a priority in Kenya and its contribution is envisaged through mainstreaming of adaptation actions into all sectors of the medium term plans to ensure strengthened resilience to climate change,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

He said Kenya’s mitigation actions target abatement of the greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 relative to the business-as-usual scenario of 143 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

However, achievement of NDC contribution is subject to international support in the form of finance, investment, capacity building, and technology development and transfer. Collaboration between the government and partners, said Mr. Tobiko, is essential for implementation of the NDC.

The country’s Climate Change Act (2016) and Policy provides a framework for mainstreaming climate change actions across sectors at the national and county levels. The Act recognizes the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) as a mechanism for mainstreaming climate change into all sectors and the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs). The second NCCAP 2018-2022 identifies priority adaptation and mitigation actions as well as contribution to the government’s BIG 4 Agenda on enhancing manufacturing sector, food and nutrition security, universal health care and affordable housing. Furthermore, the NCCAP informs the implementation of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Act also establishes a Climate Change Fund as a financing mechanism for priority climate change actions. Formulation of regulations to operationalize the fund is underway.

The National Policy on Climate Finance further provides an institutional framework for mobilization and management of climate finance that includes mechanisms for the mobilization, coding, tracking and reporting of domestic and international resources of the climate-related activities.

The conference, which focused on the theme; The Role of Devolved Governments in the Transition to Low Carbon Climate Resilient Economic Development, precedes the regional 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA-VII) that begins Wednesday in Nairobi.

Discussions included sessions towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions, Climate Change Act and Policy, climate finance, and partnerships among others.

ECA’s James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), commended Kenya for developing a sophisticated framework for the governance of climate change in the country. The Kenya Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (2016-2020) is designed to guide the country’s transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, equitable and inclusive future.

The plan recognizes that in order to succeed, substantial resources are required in the form of finance, investment, technology development innovation and transfer, and capacity building. It further recognizes that integration of green economy in the national and county planning and budgeting processes are also crucial.

“Climate change is cross cutting. It affects every aspect of life, and our ability to achieve the sustainable development goals or indeed any of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 is constrained by climate change. Because of its cross cutting nature, climate governance is complex. It requires the participation of multiple stakeholders, with sometimes conflicting interests,” said Mr. Murombedzi.

“This meeting is indeed significant in that it is a first go at mobilizing local governments, counties, the private sector and other CSOs to contribute to the climate response.”

The conference precedes the seventh conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA – VII) that begins Wednesday and is co-hosted by the ACPC, PACJA and the government of Kenya. 

Mr. Mithika Mwenda, Head of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, said Kenya remained one of the few pioneering countries in the world that have a comprehensive law on climate change thus providing an enabling environment for the implementation of the Paris Agreement without any ambiguity characterizing other jurisdictions.

“We must laud the cooperation between county governments through the Council of Governors, County Assemblies and civil society in Kenya to advance the green growth agenda and climate resilience through effective implementation of the country’s Climate Change Action Plan,” said Mr. Mwenda.

Under its National Determined Contributions (NDCs), Kenya seeks to undertake ambitious mitigation contribution towards the Paris Agreement, he added.

Acting Head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development in Kenya, Sarah Montgomery, also praised Kenya for being a climate leader not in only in Africa but the world over.

“Kenya has shown the world that it takes the threats of climate change seriously,” she said. “In the international arena and Africa specifically, Kenya is a climate leader as we see with the work on climate policy development and the establishment of the Climate Change Council.”

“Given progress here, existing political will and the continued high level political engagement at the international level, this is the right time for Kenya to play a stronger role in the Global Climate Fund decision making and the African climate finance debate,” Ms. Montgomery said, adding her government supports Kenya to continue to develop her leadership role on climate issues.

The overall objective of the conference was to strengthen climate governance for enhanced implementation of Kenya’s NDCs in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The meeting brought together key stakeholders to exchange information, share experiences and perspectives on the implementation of climate actions at County and community levels.