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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Kenya transitioning to a low carbon climate resilient development pathway

By Bob Aston
Kenya has already started transitioning to a low carbon climate resilient development pathway. Speaking during a stakeholders meeting on climate change adaptation organized by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) at Beisa Hotel, Nanyuki, Laikipia County, Mr. Thomas Musandu from the Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources said that the Country fully acknowledges the implications of climate change for sustainable development objectives and is committed to adopting the necessary corrective actions.
Mr.Musandu (standing) addressing participants
Mr. Musandu said that the Ministry has included sustainable development and poverty alleviation in all its climate action plans. The Ministry is also addressing adaptation by reducing vulnerability to avoid the impacts of climate change while various mitigation measures have also been put in place.
“Climate change and climate variability pose major threats to the environment, to economic growth and to sustainable development in the Country. It has adversely affected food production and this has been exacerbated by the Country’s specialization in mono cropping,” said Mr. Musandu.
Some of the stakeholders present during the meeting included; The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), The International Small Group Tree Planting Program (TIST-Kenya), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources representation from both the national and county government of Laikipia, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Laikipia County Assembly Agriculture, Environment and Water committee.
Others included; Laikipia County departments of Irrigation, Veterinary and Development Planning, Pure Circle Kenya Ltd, Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society and Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group.
Mr. Musandu stressed on the importance of integrating climate change into the Country’s development process and for County governments to align areas that touch on Climate change in their County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) with national climate change policies.
He noted that various adaptation initiatives have been put up by the government to reduce the effect of climate change. Some initiatives include; Adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture and Conservation agriculture, water resource management,  agro forestry, sustainable livelihoods, development of woodlots to reduce reliance on forests, introduction of agriculture insurance, improved infrastructure and formulation of national adaptation plan.
Other include; resource efficiency and green growth and green economy. He noted that the Country is currently leading in geothermal production in Africa.
“Kenya emits 0.03 percent of global carbon emission. We are currently using crude means of determining our carbon emission as we do not have very good data on emission,” said Mr. Musandu.
He urged members of the public to familiarize themselves with the National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017 which seeks to enable Kenya reduce vulnerability to climate change, adoption of low carbon development pathway and to improve the country’s ability to take opportunities that climate change offers.
He said that various initiatives have been set up to lower carbon emissions. He urged communities to plant trees as they increase the rate of carbon sequestration though he noted that trees alone cannot stop carbon emission.
“Sometimes it is not easy to distinguish between mitigation and adaptation as the two are interlinked. The national government is doing a lot of mitigation to reduce the effect of climate change,” said Mr. Musandu.
To move towards a low carbon climate resilient development pathway, the country has identified key areas that will make a significant impact on sustainable socio-economic development, adaptation and mitigation.
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