By CPA Fernandes Mbindu Muli
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns of a place for a given period of time. Climate change is one of the most serious global challenges of our time. The scientific evidence on effects of climate change is overwhelming, both at the global and local levels. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is the scientific arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has indeed indicated that climate change will lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather variability and climate change impacts. The recently concluded United Nations (UN’s) 27th annual Conference of the parties (COP 27) which took place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt alluded that there has been disruptions to food supply chains.
Prolonged droughts and loss of community livelihoods due to the effects of climate change. During the conference of parties (COP 20) held in 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland every party developed their own commitments with a view of reducing Global Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions in form of Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs). Kenya is a signatory, hence a party to the UNFCCC and has gone through an upsurge in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and successive negative impacts of climate change. This has caused great impacts on Kenya economy resulting to great socio-economic losses. Kenya is committed to reduce GHGs by 32% by the year 2030. This will be achieved through the development of legal frameworks, establishment of relevant institutions, increasing forest cover, promotion of renewable energy technologies and promotion of green economy among others. With developed governance in Kenya, these NDCs are required to be customized and replicated at county levels.
Kenya faces risk of climate variability and change with droughts reported to be recurrent in accordance to the Kenya National Adaptation Plan (Government of Kenya, 2015). Kenya has scarce and unevenly distributed freshwater resources with major rivers showing severely reduced volumes during droughts and many seasonal ones completely drying up. The most drought vulnerable areas in Kenya are found in the pastoral lands where transhumance of the pastoral communities is pronounced. Owing to Kenya’s dependence on agriculture and utilization of natural resources which are climate sensitive, the country set out to pursue low carbon climate resilient development pathway. There has been a detailed and robust assessment of adaptation and mitigation measures in depth analysis, improved information data and an extensive stakeholder consultation processes countrywide. This has enabled the country to undertake various sustainable development agenda through low carbon and climate resilient development pathway. Sectors which are highly affected by the climate change in Kenya include environment, water, energy, agriculture, forestry, tourism among others.
Legal Provisions for Building Communities Resilience and Adaptation
a) International obligations
- Kenya is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol which is an implementation mechanism to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was ratified in 2004.
- The Kyoto Protocol commits all signatory states to set internationally binding emission reduction targets, recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activities.
- The Kyoto Protocol therefore places a heavier burden on developed Nations under the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. This means developed countries are further required to extend financial and technical assistance including technology transfer to developing countries so that they can meet the challenges of climate change and variability.
- All state parties signatory to UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol are obliged to set national policies and regulations on climate change adaptation measures.
b) National and County level policy and legal basis for building communities’ resilience and adaptation capacities.
- The constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 1, Section 5 and 6 obliges Kenya to adopt internal treaties to which she is a signatory:
- Section 5: “The general rules of international law shall form part of the law of Kenya”
- Kenya formulated National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022) together with Mid Term Plan which are reviewed after every 5 years and are mainstreamed into all development activities.
- Some of the salient features in the climate change Act, 2016 states that direct impact on county government planning are in Sec 19(1)- (5) of the Act; giving way for mainstreaming of climate change actions, interventions and duties in undertaking its functions in different sectors.
- The devolved County Governments are expected to establish strategies for the mainstreaming of climate change adaption and mitigation activities.
(a) National Government of Kenya
Enactment of the national climate change Act, 2016 and establishment of Climate Change Directorate within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was a great milestone in fighting negative effects of climate change in the country. The Government after every 5 years prepares National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). Nationally Determined commitments NDCs contained in the NCCAP are required to be implemented at the county government levels. Alignment of Kenyans NDCs with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and especially SDG 7 on Affordable and clean energy and SDG 13 taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts are very crucial at building communities resilience at county level.
b) County Governments
In accordance with the requirements of the national climate change Act, 2016 and in order to undertake effective climate change adaptation in the county towards achieving resilient livelihoods for groups, the county governments through the department of Environment and Forestry are supposed to put in place legislative and institutional framework on various structures for addressing climate change effects in the counties. Through the county climate change fund regulations (KCCCFR), the climate change fund (KCCCF) and climate change unit (KCCCU) need to have been established in all counties.
- The County Climate Change Fund (CCCF) will be a distinctive fund established specifically to finance tangible climate change adaptation programmers and projects that meet the felt needs of the people based on their views and priorities.
- The County Climate Change Fund (CCCF) will be a depository for funds negotiated with development partners including National Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), national and international civil society organizations (NGOs and INGOs), bilateral and multilateral development partners.
- The County Governments will continue to support the fund from its internal resources especially through the annual budget appropriations to ensure sustainability of the initiated projects.
CPA Muli Bcom (Hons), CPAK, CCP, MBA
Email: [email protected]