Message from ACPC at Kenya's first National Climate Governance Conference
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13 October 2018 Author :   Dr James Murombedzi
Dr James Murombedzi during live interview on a Kenyan telecision

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - I have the honor to represent the African Climate Policy Centre in this esteemed gathering, the first National Climate Governance Conference, which has been convened by our partner organization, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, to discuss national issues relating to the governance of the climate response in Kenya. We are extremely grateful to PACJA and to the Kenyan Government for hosting this conference.

Kenya has developed 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 SDGs 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.

The world is heading towards catastrophe if immediate action is not taken to halt greenhouse gas emissions. As we all are aware, the IPCC yesterday released its 1.5degrees report in South Korea. The report confirms what we are already experiencing iun Africa, and is a cause for serious concern.  Last night I took time to skim through the report. Some of the major findings of the report include the following:

  1. Climate change is happening at a rate much faster than previously estimated. Global warming is outstripping all our efforts to resolve it.
  2. The impacts of global warming are also already much greater than predicted, particularly in developing countries to avoid passing he 1.5 degrees guardrail, we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 – we have under 12 years to achieve that. And to have a 50% chance of staying within the 1.5 degrees threshold the world must become carbon neutral by 2050, in only in only 32 years.
  3. Avoiding a catastrophe will require a major transformation of society and the world economy on an unprecedented scale
  4. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will cost $2.4 trillion of investments in the global energy system every year between 2016 –2035 (this is equivalent to 2.5% of world GDP). He cost of not doing anything will be much, much higher

We must all get involved in resolving this challenge

We have adequate knowledge of the causes of global warming, and the science is conclusive.

There is no room for climate deniers in this discourse

However, the inaction that we have seen is not because there is insufficient knowledge or technology or finance. We have enough of these to be able to change the way in which we produce, distribute and consume goods and services

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 meeting is also preceding the seventh conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA – VII) co-hosted by the ACPC, PACJA and the government of Kenya.  CCDA VII will also focus on mobilizing action towards the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement.  The participation of sub-sate and non status in this endeavor is indeed timely.

African economies and communities are generally dependent on natural resources. The use and management of these natural resources also tends to be characterized by institutional structures which are poor, making them vulnerable to climate extremes. A key intervention towards ensuring the resilience of our economies and the livelihoods of communities, therefore, is institutional reform.

Communities have long practiced many adaptation strategies and devised many viable responses to changing conditions. However, there are limits to how well communities can continue to practice adaptive livelihoods in the context of a changing climate. They need the support of an enabling environment created by government-planned adaptation.

Climate finance is a major constraint on climate action. One major opportunity is the possibility of accessing decentralized climate finance. Local governments are typically closer to communities and are accountable to those communities. If local governments access decentralized climate finance,  they should be empowered to disburse these climate funds for  investment in priorities chosen with communities for adapting to climate change.

Community-prioritized, public good investments can be managed in a transparent, accountable, and cost-effective manner. Such investments are consistent with public finance policy, complementary to local governments' existing budgets and capable of drawing down and managing climate finance from national climate funds and other sources of climate finance.

Greater access to – and capacity to use – climate information, which improves planning and responses to climate extremes is also required. This requires building the capacities of local government itself, civil society organizations and the private sector to manage construction and operation of public good investments.

The African Climate Policy Centre, through the ClimDev Africa initiative, is already exploring the climate governance prospects for Africa structural transformation towards achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs. We are keenly aware that climate change is now clearly the major risk in the achievement of these ideals.\

The ACPC is also implementing, with support from the DfID, the Weather and Climate Information Services (WISER) which seeks to promote the production and used of climate information, and contributes to building the capacities of hydrological and meteorological authorities across the continent.

ACPC has also developed a five year programme which seeks to support African countries in building resilient infrastructure and economies. The Centre will increase its efforts in this regard to include support not only for member states, but also new engagements with local governments, the private sector and other CSOs and stakeholders.

The ACPC is indeed honored to be part of this conference and we trust that our participation here signals the beginning of an enduring partnership with national as well as continental local governments, municipalities, the private sector  and other non-state actors towards developing mechanisms for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

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